Fearless Dream

reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Category: World Trade Center (page 1 of 11)

9/11, Seventeen Years On

There is more writing and exploring of ideas that I’d like to do here, at some point. I’ve been investing my time in other endeavors: my work, building a treehouse with my kids and spending a “Dad Camp” week with them, helping out in our Cub Scout pack, and building my mental and physical resilience through regular exercise and Tae Kwon Do training. These are things I cherish and count myself fortunate and grateful to be able to do.

I’ve also taken a more stoic view of things in recent years. As the span of time since that terrible day grows ever longer, the pace of change in our cultural state, or my perception of it, seems to have slowed. Things seem to have settled into a momentary stasis or more viscous flow, and my attention has shifted to the very long term: to where this Civilization of ours may be headed over the coming decades and centuries. The primary question on my mind has become, as I related in some form last year: What happens when a culture that believes fanatically in itself, and in its right to kill, subdue, or enslave unbelievers in its unhesitating quest for dominance, comes into contact with a culture that has been taught to fear, distrust, doubt, and even dislike itself? Where do things go from there?

There is tension in this culture of ours, to be sure: between the forces of submission and surrender, or the impulse to turn away from confrontation with the brutal enemy we face, and the Remnant among us who stand ready to fight with indomitable spirit for the civilization that is near and dear to our hearts. The key question seems to be how that tension will play out. I no longer worry that the strong timbers of this structure will weaken. What seems less certain is how the burden of persistent rot and termite activity will affect the structure as a whole. Are we headed for a schism of some sort in the long run? What happens if the load-bearing timbers get up and walk away?

I remember with clarity, on this day: the brutality of the bastards who attacked us (I see no reason to mince words). The thousands murdered in the World Trade Center towers and aboard Flights 11 and 175 that were crashed deliberately into them with full loads of fuel. The noble heroism of the first responders and everyday citizens who sacrificed to rescue others from the burning inferno of the twin towers. Those who stepped up without being called on, and independently thwarted the plans of the Flight 93 hijackers. The hole in the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania where their struggle came to an end. The people who leapt to their deaths from the doomed WTC. The people murdered when Flight 77 was crashed into the Pentagon. The sight of still-smoldering wreckage being cleared from “Ground Zero” two weeks later. And moving forward from there, the slow discovery that all my preconceived expectations about the superficiality and transience of our cultural weaknesses were mistaken. That the intentional undermining of our foundations over decades had put us in much worse shape than I’d ever realized, and that we have much work to do to find our strength again.

I cannot account for things yet unknown to me, for the particulars of where we’re headed and how all of this will be resolved. But I am certain of the strength and resilience in my own heart, determined that we shall stand and find our way again, and grateful for those kindred spirits who I know journey through the storm with me, seeking our way home with indomitable perseverance.

My Previous Years’ 9/11 Posts

2017: 9/11, Sixteen Years On

2016: 9/11, Fifteen Years On

2015: 9/11, Fourteen Years On ~ Fourteen Years Later: 9/11 Links

2014: 9/11, Thirteen Years On

2013: 9/11, Twelve Years On

2012: 9/11, Eleven Years On

2011: A Plea, Ten Years After: Please, Open Your Eyes ~ Ten Years Later: 9/11 Links

2010: 9/11: Two Songs

2009: Tomorrow is 9/11 ~ My Experience of September 11, 2001 ~ 9/11 Quotes

2008: 9/11, Seven Years On ~ 9/11, Seven Years On, Part 2 ~ 102 Minutes that Changed America

2007: 9/11, Six Years On

2006: Soon, Time Again to Reflect ~ 9/11 Observances ~ 9/11 Observances, Part 2

2005: I Remember

2004: Remembering and Rebuilding (republished here September 12th, 2014)

9/11, Sixteen Years On

It’s a somewhat different world than it was a year ago. I don’t yet know whether to judge it a much better one.

For all his faults, we now have a president in the U.S. who has had the audacity to candidly name the ideology we are up against — and what is remarkable to me is that doing so takes any audacity at all. Such is the deep denial we’ve slumped into these past 16 years, that anyone finds shocking what should be a foundational part of our shared understanding, whatever our differences may be regarding how best to face and defeat that threat. Had anyone suggested to me in the days following 9/11 that this level of denial would come to exist, or stranger still that it would come from forces within our own culture, I’d have been stunned by the insanity of the thought.

Whether our actions now and in the next few years will produce greater success as a result of leadership that will honestly name our enemy’s motivating ideology has yet to be seen. I have not been generally optimistic about our degree of cultural resolve, which I think is what we need most. The forces of civilizational decline are entrenched and persistent, and this might be but a temporary reversal of a much stronger tide. I still hold out some hope for a genuine and lasting turnaround. But I don’t know what it’s going to take to truly wake us up and get us on our feet and fighting for our future with the strong conviction that will be essential to victory. Europe has experienced numerous grisly Jihadist attacks in recent years, and hardly seems to have deviated from a course of submission, surrender, decline, and suicide. We are witnessing what happens when a culture that believes fanatically in itself comes into contact with a culture hobbled by self-doubt.

For our future to differ, our thoughts and actions must differ. If we can’t start by having the honest, fact-based conversation about radical Islamic violence that Sunni Muslim Raheel Raza calls for in this video, we will lack even the hope of turning things around. I look forward to the candor of our public discussion improving someday.

My Previous Years’ 9/11 Posts

2016: 9/11, Fifteen Years On

2015: 9/11, Fourteen Years On ~ Fourteen Years Later: 9/11 Links

2014: 9/11, Thirteen Years On

2013: 9/11, Twelve Years On

2012: 9/11, Eleven Years On

2011: A Plea, Ten Years After: Please, Open Your Eyes ~ Ten Years Later: 9/11 Links

2010: 9/11: Two Songs

2009: Tomorrow is 9/11 ~ My Experience of September 11, 2001 ~ 9/11 Quotes

2008: 9/11, Seven Years On ~ 9/11, Seven Years On, Part 2 ~ 102 Minutes that Changed America

2007: 9/11, Six Years On

2006: Soon, Time Again to Reflect ~ 9/11 Observances ~ 9/11 Observances, Part 2

2005: I Remember

2004: Remembering and Rebuilding (republished here September 12th, 2014)

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