Happy birthday to...Patriot Day

I will be 28 tomorrow. The memes on Facebook are already appearing - "9/11 was an inside job!" and "Lest we forget." Reminds me of 11 years ago, when the whole thing happened, and I was just standing there, watching it, thinking, "Man this really sucks. I'm supposed to be celebrating my life, and I'm watching people die on TV. And it's real. Not a TV show. It's real."

I have more thoughts on this...But they will have to come tomorrow. I am dead tired, and my work gave me tomorrow off for my birthday. Sweet. I am sleeping in, bitches.

Update 9/11:

On the morning of 9/11/2001, my parents and I got up and had a birthday breakfast and they gave me presents as always. That started out totally normally. None of us had turned on the news, so we had no idea what had happened across the country. On the way to school, I was listening to the radio. They said the Twin Towers were hit, and I actually had no idea what the Twin Towers were. My boyfriend at the time (we carpooled to school together) got in the car and was like, "The Twin Towers were hit!" I told him I didn't even know what those were. He exclaimed, "You don't know what the Twin Towers are???" - "Nope," I said.

Well, it became clear to me very quickly what the Twin Towers were and what had happened. Everyone knows the whole story and what happened, so I won't go into that. At my school, we found an old TV and made bunny ears with tin foil so that we could watch what was going on. That TV was on all day long. I went to a school where you could basically do whatever you wanted all day, so the TV was sometimes on in the main room while no one was in it. Either way, it was on every time I walked in. But the whole thing didn't really hit me until later in the evening, when I was at my boyfriend's house and saw the news coverage of people jumping out of the buildings. I broke down in tears, and I remember wailing, "Why does this have to happen? On a day when I'm supposed to be celebrating being alive? And people are dying? Why is this happening?"

Of course, in the months afterwards, we got more and more news about what had happened, or what had supposedly happened. The Patriot Act was born, crafted with intricate words, unlike me, who had been crafted by my parents and born 17 years prior. The 9/11 investigation was published. I thought that had happened rather quickly. I thought something like this might take months if not at least a year to fully investigate, but when your government is (probably) partly at fault, I guess it's easy for them to get the information because they had it all along.

This is not a post about government conspiracies or anything like that. I will say, though, that some things really don't make sense. The Twin Towers were hit, and then the Pentagon was hit, and the pictures show a huge, gaping hole that looks nothing like it would had a plane hit it. But that's really not what I want to focus on here.

I was talking to a friend last night. He said his professors on that day kept saying that the world had changed. And I suppose, it had changed. It's amazing that something like this happens and it affects the rest of the world, not just your country. It affected every country that was getting oil from the Middle East. It started a war in Afghanistan that not just the United States was involved in. It carried over into the Iraq war. Years later, the leader of the group that carried out this attack is supposedly found and killed by the United States army. If nothing else, it changed the perspective people had on the United States. People had always loved the United States for one reason or another. This brought the whole world into a sort of solidarity with the United States. But...Why? There are tragedies that happen all over the planet. You don't see schools in Germany and North America letting kids out early because there are massacres happening in Africa. You don't have a moment of silence every day for the people who are victims of terrorism in the Middle East. But on this day, the most powerful country in the world gets attacked, and the whole world stands still.

I understand WHY it was this way in general. As I said, the US is the most powerful country on the planet, so people shut up and pay attention when something like this happens. I suppose that when things go badly for the US, the rest of the world worries what will happen to their countries because of trade and that kind of thing. So maybe people were more worried about the effect this might have on their countries in terms of economics.

But, for example, on July 22, 2011, in Norway, a "lone wolf terrorist" (as he's called on Wikipedia) attacked mostly adults with a car bomb in Oslo and mostly children on the island of Utøya. That was a horrible thing to have happened. Granted, not as many people died in that situation as in the attack on 9/11, and it got worldwide attention, but I'm sure no one was really allowed to leave school early that day, I'm sure they didn't have TVs on in every classroom. The world wasn't drastically changed that day. There were, however, many posts on Facebook about how horrible a tragedy it was and we should remember the victims. If Facebook had been around, I'm sure the same thing would have happened on 9/11, just like it does today in remembrance. Then again, there ware terrorist bombings on the London Underground on July 7, 2005. And then, lots of countries stood together in solidarity again, saying "this proves we need a war on terror! Us against them!" But isn't a crazy Norwegian guy who wants to kill children also a terrorist? Where were the countries standing in solidarity against him?

I just feel it's unfair to stop the whole world when something happens in the United States, but not when something happens in Norway. Lives were lost just the same. The life of a businessman in a Twin Tower is not more important than the life of someone working in the executive government quarter in Norway. Obviously, people in Norway were more shaken up about that situation than we were here, because Norway is a small country very far away. But it seems to me that people in places outside of the US were just as shaken up by 9/11 as people in the States. What makes it that way? How is it so engrained in the world's population's heads that the US is this more important place than anywhere else on Earth? If history were rewritten so that, I don't know, Canada was the most powerful country on Earth and not the US, and someone flew planes into a couple of their office buildings, would the world have reacted the same way? I think it probably would have.

This seems very confusing to me. On the one hand, we have this "grass is greener" complex as humans. I have met lots of people during my travels in Europe who have assumed that the US is an amazing place and better than where they lived. I've also met people who hate the US. But more so, people who are fascinated by it, and I think would jump at the chance to live there. They don't realize, sometimes, how good they have it in their own countries. (I'm talking Europe here, not, like, Africa. The US is definitely better than some countries in Africa, I hate to say it.) But at the same time, they are very proud of their countries. So they have this loyalty to their countries and their people, but they have a "grass is greener" complex.

Man, humans are weird.

I also find it kind of interesting how the world works in reaction to something like this. A bunch of countries (NATO) stood together to attack Afghanistan because of this whole thing. People get so angry, they want their tragedies avenged. I get that. But you would think that a bunch of countries standing together would promote peace, not more war. Or maybe that's just how I wish it would be.

Anyway, all this crap aside...9/11 was a horrible tragedy. Even if it had happened in another country, and even if the whole world hadn't stopped for that tragedy, it's disturbing. There were many victims, and they must be remembered. I have said before and I'll say again that the terrorists were also victims - of brainwashing, of a violent sect of their religion, and were victims in their deaths as well. Most people will not talk about how they can see why the terrorists were upset with the US and why they don't like them. Especially in the States. If you sympathize, you will be given an earful of patriotism, even sometimes by very liberal people. 

I'm just saying...The US is not the best country on Earth. It's far better than many other countries, yes. But it's not the best. And every country has its problems. People need to put the world into perspective and realize there is no place that is the best. We are all just people trying to get through every day alive. Mourn for the victims in tragedies all over the world. Tragedies in Africa, Asia, hell, even eastern Europe. Feel for everyone on this planet, because they are human, too. One human life is not better or worth more than another.


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