Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of the infamous day dubbed 9/11, a day that the world literally stood still to witness an advent that would then change the globe as we knew it. I can still remember as if it were yesterday when, at the time I lived in Taiwan, I received a phone call from a friend of ours that said “turn the TV on to CNN, something has happened in New York, it looks like an attack on the United States”. The call was in Chinese and so I was unclear as to what she was trying to say. I flipped on the TV and just minutes after, I witnessed the second plane plow through the second tower! Needless to say, like the rest of the world I stood and watched incredulously.
The effects of this day are still being felt 10 years on, and my heart goes out to the thousands of people who have been affected in a very direct way, having lost friends and loved ones on that day. I salute those brave men and women who risked their lives to rescue and aid those on the scene and who are to this very day experiencing illnesses due to their exposure to the debris.
We have all been affected in one way or the other due to the events of this day, some changes that have taken place have been positive and most have been more on the negative side. New York had already been on a campaign to clean up their city under the then Mayor Giuliani, but after 9/11, the people of New York began to see life in a totally new perspective, and gained greater respect for others which was a positive change. Back in the day when I had first visited New York, I was not left with a very positive impression of the people of New York City, today it leaves a totally different impression, and a lot has to do with that fatal day.
On the negative side, our lives have changed due to the repercussions of that day in 2001, we have been hurled back into the dark days of racial profiling and prejudice. Many, not knowing anything about the Muslim religion have been convinced that all Muslims are bad and thus cannot be trusted. Despite the many attempts to clarify the fact that we are not at war against the Muslim religion, but rather we are at war against fanaticism and extremism that uses religion as a cloak for their sins.
On the negative side we have found ourselves once again in the quagmire of endless war, trying to figure out the destiny of a country that is not even our own and not ours to make decisions for. There have been many more deaths of innocent men, women and children due to “collateral damage” and “friendly fire”, and a total disruption of several societies in a greater proportion than that of the crumbling of the twin towers of New York, only on foreign soil.
On the negative side, we have given up many personal freedoms that we once enjoyed through sweeping changes under the guise of personal °protection and safety°. We have all been told that it is for the greater good that we should be willing “at any cost” to relinquish whatever privacy that is deemed necessary for our own well-being.
Yes, this was a day that has changed the World as we knew it. I prefer the change that has taken place with those in New York, to learn the value of life, to appreciate what we have, to strive to do more for others when we can. I yearn for the yesteryear that we continue on the road of respect of others despite their personal faith. I pray that soon we will witness the end of war so that we can rebuild our own economy, take care of our fellow citizens and learn to accept that not all nations are like ours or even desire to be as our, but rather, they have their own culture that is unique and to be admired.
How has the world changed for you?