Twenty Years

I think the whole of North America is remembering the terrorist attacks this weekend, and I will definitely be joining them in my own little way.

I was in grade nine when the attacks on the World Trade Centre buildings happened on September 11th, 2001. French class to be exact. Our teacher found a TV and wheeled it in, and we watched the news. We had TV’s outside of our school cafeteria as well so at lunch most of the student body was in the foyer watching as the towers fell.

As a fourteen year old girl, it was something that I had never experienced before and hope to never experience again. It is definitely my generation’s “where were you when….”. For my parents it was the shooting of JFK. Of course my was 6 when that happened (dad was 15)… but still.

I remember that for about a week or so after, that’s all that was on tv. The news, breaking news bulletins that interrupted the shows that I wanted to watch. Basically how March-June of 2020 went with the news on Covid. And as a 14 year old, I was annoyed! I had heard enough about it after two or three days and didn’t understand why we weren’t just moving on from that. I didn’t really grasp the gravity of the situation when it happened.

And then the massive military assaults of Afghanistan and Iraq started. In 2010, almost a full ten years after the towers fell, my family knew someone who went over to Afghanistan. He had spent his whole life wanting to serve and protect his country, and at 26 he was finally joining the army and being deployed. He was so happy to be achieving his dreams! He was in Afghanistan for two weeks before his covey delivering aid ran over an IED and was destroyed.

And now, twenty years after that horrific event, it seems like we are only going backwards doesn’t it? First America had Trump as their president, now we are in a global pandemic where we are once again afraid for our lives, but in a totally different way, new safety measures are being put in place every where to keep us safe from something we never really considered before, and now Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban again. After twenty years!

I have to say that I am speechless. Not only for the state of things, but also for the fact that my family friend died for nothing. At least it feels like he did right now. What was the point of his sacrifice? I don’t get it. What was the point of the deaths of all the other soldiers that died? The ones who did actually get to come home but are now suffering from PTSD or other mental heath issues because of the trauma of war that they experienced? I just don’t get it.

So as the world remembers the start of it all, and the lives that were lost during 9/11, and the ones who are still unable to be identified (which I heard is about 40%), for those first responders who spent days pulling people from rubble, who are now facing illness themselves from the fumes and the dangers of their own jobs, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing. These are hard emotions to process. And quite frankly, I’m really glad that I have a lot to get done this weekend so I’m not just sitting and dwelling on it.

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