We Are Still In The Desert09.11.09
Everyone remembers where they were on this tragic day eight years ago. Everyone remembers those images of devastation and horror. And everyone remembers the feeling of comradery and patriotism that ensued. It was amazing to feel everyone pulling together for a common goal.
Yet looking back on it, I find it sad and depressing that the only way we could all be on the same page was with a sense of anger and revenge. We were all only in arms together in the primal sense of survival, a basic human reaction.
And that didn’t last long.
In the past eight years, we’ve avenged the deaths of our loved ones in the World Trade Center attacks by losing over 5100 more men and women overseas fighting two wars, one of which was completely unprovoked and criminally unnecessary. We’ve gotten more polarized as a country, to a point where a large section of society gets enraged when the president wants to speak to the students. Have people really lost sight of real issues that should get us enraged that we waste our energy on something as benign as that?
How about the fact that we are still in Iraq? And that President Obama is talking about a troop surge (sound familiar?) in Afghanistan while its government proves to be dangerously unreliable. If you want to get outraged at him, that would be a really good reason.
My brother Dave lost his best friend, Pfc Levi Hoover, in Iraq on the day before my birthday two years ago. Growing up together since they were kids, so many of Dave’s memories include Levi. They went fishing together. They went hunting together. They fixed their trucks together (after they wrecked them together). You’d be hard pressed to find any pictures of Dave without Levi right next to him, holding up a prize trout or next to a seven-point buck. They were brothers. And, now that he’s gone, my brother hasn’t been the same.
None of us have.
I wish I could at least take comfort in knowing that Levi had to be there, that he had to be fighting for our freedom, that he sacrificed his life for a cause that we had no choice in being a part of. September 11th, 2001 changed our world. So many people lost their Levis that awful day. Tragically, thousands and thousands more have been lost since.
Never forget 9/11. But, more importantly, never forget what happened after. And that it’s still happening.