Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Time That Has Passed

It's been ten years already. Hard to imagine it's been that long.

So much has happened since the attacks on the World Trade Center. Technology has been improving since 2001—computers have shrunk to the size of cellphones, global communication has been perfected with programs like Skype, Facebook, and I would even include Steam in this (among many others). Technology costs have plummeted, and the credo “Size matters not” is becoming even more applicable.

The economy has been plummeting since 2001. Jobs are becoming increasingly harder to come by, few people will be secure in their retirement, and the Dow Jones plummeted below 10,000, sending the global markets into a tailspin. Millions of people have suffered from the Housing market crashes, and from scumbags like Bernie Madoff who steal money from hardworking people.

Since 2001, we have become involved in several wars, mainly in the Middle East. Afghanistan has been invaded and bombed, its Taliban regime removed from power (though not shut down). Saddam Hussein and his two sons have been killed in Iraq, and almost ten years after the attacks, Osama bin Laden has reportedly been killed as well. Civil unrest has cropped up in Egypt and Libya, with US and global aid being sent to aid the rebellious forces of the people, who are sick and tired of being oppressed by tyrants like Muammar Gaddafi. God only knows if the next regime will be better or worse, as the idea of liberty and equality isn't a welcomed concept “over there.”

Life for us Americans have changed as well. Rules have become stricter, and the government could be watching our every move and we would not know it until the black helicopters swooped us up from our beds. Unconstitutional laws such as the Patriot Act keep us paranoid enough to watch what we say on the phones and Internet, and acts such as “No Child Left Behind” ensure that all schoolchildren, regardless of ethnicity or general background, have an equal opportunity to fail and become hopeless dropouts.

But this isn't a political rant. There is no single source to point fingers at, whether they be Republican or Democrat, Christian, Jew, or Muslim. I could scream myself hoarse for months, criticizing everything and everyone that has brought us to where we are today.

But what's the sense in that?

I thank my lucky charms that, despite these series of unfortunate events, I can still criticize the government, I can still exercise my right to bear arms, and I can still live my life the way I want to live it. This decade has brought about many changes, but these basic ideas have never changed. I am free, and I will always be free, no matter who tries to squelch my voice, no matter who tries to scare me into silence.

I will never forget 9/11. I will never forget the victims of this senseless act of violence, and of the heroes who lived and died trying to save lives. These attacks reverberate on a global scale—the 7/7 bombings of the Underground in England, and the commuter train bombings of Madrid all have some type of connection to the 9/11 attacks. I send my condolences to everyone who has had to suffer through these horrible acts, and to the others that I have not been able to mention.

Can terrorism be truly extinguished? Will there be a time when we may put down our arms and finally learn to tolerate everyone's cultural differences? That day might come, but I doubt any of us will live to see it. And until that day comes, we will have to keep our weapons polished and our bayonets sharp. The only way to stop others from taking away our freedom is to be ready and able to defend ourselves.

That is the only certainty.

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