The one image I can’t bear to watch of that fateful September day is the one of people jumping from the two towers. I can’t help but wonder about how they came to that decision; if they got a chance to hear their loved ones voices one last time?It’s heart-wrenching. I think they have such resonance even now because we can all easily imagine ourselves in their place.
Today we took time out to remember those people; and all of those who died that day. And we should- it’s a day that’s etched in our collective memory’s. We’re still living with the consequences of that day; it left a gaping hole in the middle of New York, and showed us the depths of human kindness. It sent us to war, and eventually caused a significant shift in Canadian foreign policy.
All of it is worth remembering. Over 150 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan since combat operations began; and each of them is worth remembering today. They fought, and managed in a way to bring some limited progress to a harsh country, half a world away and that bears remembering.
It bears remembering how Canada continued growing in the last few years. When Great Britain, and the Americans went to Iraq, we stayed in Afghanistan. This signalled a remarkable shift in attitudes; we had that habit of following the Americans and British in a lot of decisions. And now we’d make our own. Canada struck out on its own, and decided we wouldn’t actively participate. We’re still playing out the consequences of this decision.
It also bears thinking about how the world has changed. Somehow the world lost its innocence that day, and will never be the same. I remember being totally shocked; America- this couldn’t happen to them- they’re invincible- nothing could hurt them. And yet something did- I guess it goes to show none of us are invincible.
We should remember that we’ve had some good luck catching the bad guys before anything else has happened. A lucky flight crew caught the shoe bomber, and good police work caught the Toronto 18. The plans in both cases would’ve been horrific had they come to fruition; but we’ve caught them. I know that security can be a real pain in the behind, but remember it keeps us safe.
September 11, 2001 is truly the day the world changed. May all who died that day, and in the wars since Rest in Peace.