A Day that Changed America
Ten years ago today, an event took place that shook the very foundations of the American spirit, an event that not only changed the daily life of every American citizen, but one that also changed the ideological and emotional composition of the world. Ten years ago, Logan International Airport paid perhaps the greatest price for ineptitude in human history, and ten years later, as we reflect upon an event still resounding in the hearts of all Americans, we mourn the dead, console the still-stricken family and friends, and marvel at how a few box cutters could bring the greatest nation in the world to its knees.
On September 11, 2001, Madrid's newspaper, El Pais, had a picture of the burning World Trade Center as its cover. Below the image were two words, a phrase that was personally resounding more for its distinctiveness than its creativity. The title read, "La Guerra." The War.
A common remark of war veterans who see pictures and videos of 9/11 Manhattan is how they have in the past seen and experienced places that closely resemble New York on that day, places such as Berlin, Saigon, Kuwait, or Kosovo; however, not one ever expected to see such a catastrophe on the streets of America's largest and most cherished city. For many years New York has evoked images of prosperity, entertainment, excitement, and all things American; from NBC studios and Rockefeller Center to the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building, the city is, in one image, everything America has strove for and everything that it continues to become. It is a testament to the history of the nation, but moreover, it is a reminder of all we wish to achieve. And it is for all these reasons that seeing the Biggest Apple in America's proverbial pie turned into Pompeii in a matter of minutes was all the more horrifying.
The purpose of terrorism is to strike at an ideal, to destroy something with such symbolism that the world cannot help but take note. To take such an idealistic symbol of American prosperity, freedom, and opportunity as the World Trade Center and reduce it and its surrounding area to smoldering ashes is to strike at the heart of America. Indeed, such action can only be considered one thing. War.
The patriots in all of us at some time or another quietly applauded the US war effort to eliminate Al Qaeda factions in Afghanistan; after all, if they wanted a war, should they not receive one? And for ten years, one need only think of the massive loss of life and the destruction of one of America's most beloved symbols to stop doubting the American government's right to remain in Afghanistan. And, the efforts have paid off. Indeed, it is eerily fitting that the death of the mastermind behind all the death, destruction, and chaos that was brought to the streets of America should occur only months before the ten year anniversary of the terrible tragedy. Perhaps even more fitting is that ten years after the wrath of Islamic extremism was felt around the world, the Middle East region has erupted in protests against such practices and in favor of a peaceful, democratic future.Continued on the next page