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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Scabs


"I mean, 40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually before the World Trade Center the tallest, and then when they built the World Trade Center it became known as the second-tallest, and now it's the tallest. "
-- Donald J. Trump


Fuck 9-11.

I hate this day.

I hate this anniversary, all the things it represents, the terror, the wars, the endless dead, the mindless furious patriotism, and most especially I hate what it did to the country I once pledged my life to serve.

You need an example?

A few years ago, when I’d finally had enough of this bloody memory, I made a Facebook post about 9-11.

It went viral.

And many people were offended. Goddamn, were they offended.

Those who beat their fleshy chests and wave the flag in righteous unending fury and bleat most bitterly about “Freedom” and “Liberty” and “Patriotism” were the most offended. Because aren’t they always?

Aren’t they?

They were so offended, they attempted to hack my Facebook account.

When that didn’t work, they complained to Facebook in righteous anger, furiously waving their little flags, shouting their rage and how aggrieved they were.

Because that’s what you do when you love “Freedom” and “Liberty” and “Patriotism” -- not the real freedom and liberty and patriotism but the jack-booted goose-stepping version where everybody is lined up and made to salute the flag with a gun to the back of their necks.  The kind of “Freedom” that’s administered by serious men of pure Aryan descent with death’s heads and lightning bolts glittering on their collars. And eventually these righteous patriots succeeded in convincing Facebook’s idiot mechanical brain to remove my post for “violation of community standards” – even though nothing I wrote violates Facebook’s community standards in any way.

They got the post removed and got me suspended for a few days until Facebook’s support staff figured out what was going on and restored both my original post and my account.

Now, I was not particularly vexed by this.

I’m not.

I mean, it’s not often that you get confirmation of your position in such a succinct manner and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t amuse me.

By getting my post pulled down they confirmed everything I said.

They always do, these patriots, predictable as the next rank of goose-stepping Nazis parading down the road.

What was it I said that was deserving of censorship and death threats?

This:

You're expecting some kind of obligatory 9-11 post, aren't you?

Here it is, but you're not gonna like it.

15 years ago today 19 shitheads attacked America.

They killed 3000 of us.

And then ... America got its revenge for 9-11.

Yes we did. Many times over. We killed them. We killed them all. We killed their families. We killed their wives and their kids and all their neighbors. We killed whole nations that weren't even involved just to make goddamned sure. We bombed their cities into rubble. We burned down their countries.

They killed 3000 of us, we killed 300,000 of them or more.

8000 of us came home in body bags, but we got our revenge. Yes we did.

We're still here. They aren't.

We win. USA! USA! USA!

Right?

You goddamned right. We. Win.

Except...

Every year on this day we bathe in the blood of that day yet again. We watch the towers fall over and over. It's been 15 goddamned years, but we just can't get enough. We've just got to watch it again and again.

It's funny how we never show those videos of the bombs falling on Baghdad today. Or the dead in the streets of Afghanistan. We got our revenge, but we never talk about that today. No, we just sit and watch the towers fall yet again.

Somewhere out there on the bottom of the sea are the rotting remains of the evil son of bitch who masterminded the attack. It took a decade, but we hunted him down and put a bullet in his brain. Sure. We got him. Right? That's what we wanted. that's what our leaders promised us, 15 years ago today.

And today those howling the loudest for revenge shrug and say, well, yeah, that. That doesn't matter, because, um, yeah, the guy in the White House, um, see, well, he's not an American, he's the enemy see? He's not doing enough. So, whatever. What about that over there? And that? And...

Yeah.

15 years ago our leaders, left and right, stood on the steps of the Capitol and gave us their solemn promise to work together, to stand as one, for all Americans.

How'd that promise work out?

How much are their words worth? Today, 15 years later?

It's 15 years later and we're STILL afraid. We're still terrorized. Still wallowing in conspiracy theories and peering suspiciously out of our bunkers at our neighbors. Sure we won. Sure we did. We became a nation that tortures our enemies -- and our own citizens for that matter. We're a nation of warrantless wiretaps and rendition and we've gotten used to being strip searched in our own airports. And how is the world a better place for it all?

And now we're talking about more war, more blood.

But, yeah, we won. Sure. You bet.

Frankly, I have had enough of 9-11. Fuck 9-11. I'm not going to watch the shows. I'm not going to any of the memorials. I'm not going to the 9-11 sales at Wal-Mart. I don't want to hear about 9-11. I for damned sure am not interested in watching politicians of either party try to out 9-11 each other. I'm tired of this national 9-11 PTSD. I did my bit for revenge, I went to war, I'll remember the dead in my own time in my own way.

I'm not going to shed a damned tear today.

We got our revenge. Many times over, for whatever good it did us.

I'm going to go to a picnic and enjoy my day. Enjoy this victory we've won.

I suggest you do the same.

Horrible, yes?

Unamerican, no doubt. How unpatriotic that I should suggest we stop wallowing in this misery, that we stop allowing ourselves to be terrorized by men long dead.

Yes indeed, how terrible.

That was three years ago I wrote that. Every year on this date, I say again, Fuck 9-11. I’m tired of wallowing in the blood of that day and what came after. We’ve won. Haven’t we? Look around, surely we won. Let us live our lives, enjoy our bitter victory.

And every year, the supposed patriots who love freedom and liberty show up and get my various social media accounts suspended.

Because for them, it will never be enough.

There will never be enough misery.

There can never been enough death.

There can never been enough blood.

There can never be enough hate.

We simply cannot kill enough people to sate our need for revenge.

Entire countries were laid waste in revenge for 9-11. We did that. I know, I was there, I was one of those who went to war for a lie and helped to kill hundreds of thousands in revenge for something they never did.

It’s been almost 20 years now, and in those decades since 911 we Americans have become a callous people who can look upon those devastated lands and say, well, you know they had it coming, all of those bastards had it coming including their goddamned children. Fuck them. 

We became a nation that tortures people and disappears people and detains people, including our own citizens, indefinitely without trial or recourse in abject repudiation of the very spirit of our nation’s own founding – and we are unashamed of that and unrepentant. 

In the decades since 911, we have become a nation where, as an American, you must put aside your freedom a dozen times a day. You must show your papers. You must submit to naked body scanners and you must allow unsmiling uniformed men with the force of secret laws behind them to grope the most intimate areas of your children and yourselves. Such has become the price of freedom in America.

We have become a nation  where you – as an American – can be detained for a glance or a gesture or a careless word or for checking out the wrong book from the library or for worshipping the wrong God.  We have become a nation where the only acceptable response to uniformed authority is immediate and total submission. Talk back, question, stand pat on the rights of previous generations and you’ll be branded an enemy.

We have become a nation that claims to revere liberty and justice, but believes those things can only be had when secret agencies monitor our every email and our every communication without warrant or probable cause.

We have become a nation where parents buy bulletproof backpacks for their children as part of their school supplies.

We have become a nation that turns away the desperate and the needy, a nation that puts children in cages and lets women sit in their own menstrual blood because we don’t even have the minimum empathy to provide sanitary napkins or even flu shots to sick children.

We have become a nation that would build our own prison walls and surround ourselves in barbed wire and machine guns and call it freedom. 

Nearly two decades on and we have a become a nation so filled with hate, so filled with rage, so fearful and so terrorized, that we are now deporting the very veterans who fought for America in the terrible days after 9-11.

That’s who we are.


And I have no desire to celebrate that at all.


The day after 9-11, September 12th, 2001, Congress stood upon the steps of the Capitol with the smoke of the burning Pentagon still hanging in the air above their heads and solemnly pledged to the American people that they would put aside their partisanship and their personal agendas and work together for the sake of our nation. 

In the decades since that moment we have become a nation divided instead, a nation of partisan rancor writ large – and those who stubbornly proclaim their patriotism loudest are the very ones who would lead us into civil war and secession.  They would destroy what terrorists could not.

And yet, in the decades since 911, we have found those responsible, rooted them out, and ground them into dust.  It took ten years, but Osama bin Laden is dead at the hands of Americans.  So is his successor. So are hundreds of his lieutenants.  So are thousands of his foot soldiers. 

So are many, many others, including thousands of Americans.

But it has not brought us closure.

And it has certainly not brought us peace.

Nor has it healed us as a nation.

9-11 was horrifying. It was personal to us all, every single American. It left us scarred, as a nation, and traumatized.

And we keep using that horror, that trauma, as an excuse to lash out in a massive case of collective post traumatic stress disorder.

The wounds of that event run deep and are still raw decades later – but those wounds will not heal so long as we keep picking at the scab over and over and over.

Today, we will relive the horror yet again – a fevered nightmare that simply won’t go away because we will not allow it to go away. 

Again, don’t get me wrong, we should always remember the events of September 11th, 2001, just as we remember Pearl Harbor or the assassination of John F. Kennedy or the hundred other events that shocked and traumatized our nation. But if we are to heal, if we are to move on, we have to stop reliving that horror over and over.

Certainly we should build the memorials and lay the wreaths.

Of course we should always remember the names of the fallen and hold them sacred.

Of course we should.

But we need to stop covering ourselves in the blood of that day.

Today, right now as I write this, hundreds of media channels will play the recordings of those trapped in the towers.  They’ll play those recordings over and over and over again. Recordings of the tortured calls to emergency services and the final calls to loved one.  And we’ll listen, yet again, to the intimate agony of those dying people.  They will play on endless loop the videos of those who jumped seventy stories to their death, lingering lovingly on their faces, speculating about their last moments, reveling in the horror. They interview those who witnessed the death and destruction and horror and they’ll beg, “Tell us what you were thinking. Tell us what you were feeling at that very moment.” We don’t need to know what they were feeling, what they were thinking, because we felt the same exact thing. We’re still feeling it. But we’ll listen anyway like a entire nation slowing down to boggle wide-eyed at a car wreck.

We’ll watch the towers fall. Again.

We’ll see the Pentagon crumple and explode.  Again.

We’ll hear the tapes of the air traffic controllers, of the horrified confusion in the towers, and the phone calls of those Americans who fought back above the corn fields of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 

I hear those tortured voices, I see those dying faces, and I don’t feel hate. I don’t feel a need for revenge. I’ve had decades of hate. I went to war in revenge. I’ve been covered in blood long enough.

Instead, I look at those pictures and I feel revulsion.

There is something obscene about listening to 911 calls, any 911 call.  While those records may have value to history, it is nothing but a voyeuristic grotesquery to broadcast those intimate communications to a public jaded by reality TV and violent slasher flicks.

It serves no purpose whatsoever but to keep open festering wounds that should be long scarred over.

Today, the president will once again lie about his feats of heroism in the days after the attack. He’ll once again use this anniversary to attack his political enemies and to divide America still further. Because that is what he does.

Today, pundits and politicians will use this anniversary to drive us further apart, to reopen the wounds, for their own selfish agendas for clicks and likes and social media accolades, to further inflame partisan fervor and to brand their neighbors as enemies and un-American.

And we will let them do it, because in the decades since 911 we’ve become a nation of cutters who hack at our own flesh with mean abandon.

Since 911, an entire generation has been born and grown to self-awareness.

Those young Americans have never known their nation at peace.

They have never known a nation that is not divided.

They have never had a single day where they weren’t told to hate their neighbors and to report them if they don’t seem patriotic enough.

They have never lived a single day in a nation that wasn’t bent to the terrible business of revenge.

They have never known a nation that didn’t roil in fear and cringe in terror every single day.

They have never flown on an airplane without having been treated like a criminal.

They have never checked out a book from the library without having been subject to secret scrutiny.

They never sent an unmonitored email or made an unmonitored phone call.

They have never lived in a house that isn’t subject to unwarranted search.

They have never had the right to redress or legal challenge when their name is placed on secret lists – and in point of fact, they don’t even have the right to know if their name is on that list at all.

They have never lived in a nation where they have the right to confront their accuser and demand proof of more than just suspicion.

They have never lived without the threat, however unlikely, of being disappeared.

They have never lived in a nation that didn’t regard the torture of human beings as an acceptable option.

This new generation has lived under the shadow of those falling towers every single minute of every single day since the moment they were born.

The terrorists didn’t do that.


We did it to them.


Fuck 9-11.

Fuck this is anniversary.

I’m going to log off and enjoy the day with those I love.

I suggest you do the same.


Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”
-- Barack Obama

158 comments:

  1. Thanks for this. Here we are, kissing Saudi ass and persecuting POCs. Safe to say, all we learned is anger and revenge.

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    1. And destroying our country, undermining the very fabric of it. I, too refuse to post any pictures or like any because it's all bs. We have forgotten, forgotten how to be a country the world looks up to.

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    2. A country where one of the best quarterbacks wont get a job anymore because the racist president wont allow it... Taking a knee isnt good enough. A country where unhealthy people will get thrown out THIS SATURDAY to die in their home countries after being invited to the USA. A country where white supremacist gain ground daily and which is about to flip to Nazi America in weeks to come.

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    3. When the TRUTH eventually comes out, & we learn it was our OWN COUNTRY in Cahoots with Isreali money men, After everyone is dead that created & caused this...Then what? They have locked the freedom away behind "homeland security", & government officals @ evvery stop light, train station, airport, School...if you don't believe we did this to ourselves, I have a bridge in the Gulf of Tonkin that needs attention...peace

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  2. I'm with you, my brother. I am so tired of all the fake patriotism going on in this country, but I don't need to say it, because you have said it all.

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  3. you are amazing and i can totally agree! thank you for saying it out loud. please enjoy your day with your loves.

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  4. Every year, I try to make this a day of remembering the good people, the care and concern that followed 9/11. Living within 20 miles of lower Manhattan, I knew many people who were directly affected and felt the shock up close. Still remember seeing the multitudes of "Missing" posters and feeling scared yet defiant when I went into the city just three weeks later.

    At that point, the flag was a symbol of unity and promise that we'd get through this together. We were all Americans, regardless of what we looked like, what language we spoke or how long we'd been here. Sure, we wanted to get down to what happened and wanted someone to pay, but we wanted to take care of each other. It took unimaginable tragedy to get us there, but it felt genuine and I wish we could get it back.

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  5. I have two police officers in my house, both who feel exactly this way, including myself. Fuck 9-11.

    They ran the towers today with the fire fighters, because at least it was something they could do, but as my daughter said, "It wasn't enough. Nothing is ever enough." I'm grateful she understood that it wasn't more revenge and anger we needed, but rather more positive action in this angry world we've created.

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  6. And my not quite 19 year old boy went to war with the 101st, and then another war, and then back to the first war and then back to the second war two more times. More than half of his adult lifetime spent in war zones for....what?

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  7. I ran across the link to this post on FB just as I was thinking to myself, "I'm sick of 9-11."
    Weird.
    BTW your piece is right on the money.

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  8. I hate this day, too. I hated telling my children when they called from school asking if Daddy was dead. I hated the dread and uncertainty. I even hated the relief I got at 9m when my husband finally called and said he got out of the city. I felt lucky that someone else had died and not him. He worked 1 1/2 blocks away and watched folks throwing themselves off the burning building to have a quick death instead of a slow burning. He still suffers at the memory of running in the "cloud of dust", shopkeepers yanking people in out of the cancer rain of asbestos. I especially HATE Trump and his Saudi buddies who have pretended to be innocent all these years!

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  9. ALL of this! It says EXACTLY what I feel and have felt since that day. Stop WALLOWING in it - and HOW many dead "over there" will be ENOUGH already?! You have the answer - even if we killed "them" all, it wouldn't satisfy these "patriots'" blood lust.

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  10. Glad I'm not the only heathen that feels like you do.

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  11. Everyone likes to talk about how "united" we were, all peace and love and patriotism. But my next-door neighbors were Sikhs and I noticed all the people being murdered simply for resembling what people here think of as Muslim and I was terrified for them.

    No one wants to talk about that part of the aftermath.

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    1. This was my first thought today too, when I heard people talking about how wonderful 9/12 was.

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    2. Except on 9/12 no airplanes could fly except the Bin Ladens' because "friends in high places"...

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    3. I remember that very night a guy just getting through his hours working at a suburban Chicago gas station was murdered because he was of Middle Eastern descent.

      The 'unity' that many of us felt in those days afterwards was an illusion born of privilege.

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  12. Hello,

    I love the essay! I believe I noticed a typo. When you said "We simple cannot kill enough" I believe you meant to use "simply". I hope you have a good day, sir.

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  13. I won't be watching/listening. I did that too much in the beginning. I will remember, but I won't wallow.

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  14. Beautifully written and very true. I wish more people think and feel the same so that this world can start healing. I've often said that with the state of Western mentality (hate division, fear) Osama won. He achieved what he set out to do....to destroy us and our way (our past way) of life. It's gone. The seeds of hate were planted through 9-11 and now the alt-right (nazis) are cultivating through false patriotism.

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  15. Thank you. I absolutely agree with you. While 9-11 broke my heart, it also became the flashpoint for the Conservative war on brown people. We now have a "President" who is actually unwilling to give Bahamians, who lost their homes to a hurricane, shelter in this country because some of them might be "bad people"...and that's only a very tiny tip of the unhinged cruel iceberg that embodies all that Trump and his sycophants stand for. I cannot mourn the past today because I mourn our future every day. If we don't take our country back on 2020, 9-11 will seem like a walk in the park.

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  16. Beautifully written and very true. I wish more people think and feel the same so that this world can start healing. I've often said that with the state of Western mentality (hate division, fear) Osama won. He achieved what he set out to do....to destroy us and our way (our past way) of life. It's gone. The seeds of hate were planted through 9-11 and now the alt-right (nazis) are cultivating through false patriotism

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  17. Beautifully written and very true. I wish more people think and feel the same so that this world can start healing. I've often said that with the state of Western mentality (hate division, fear) Osama won. He achieved what he set out to do....to destroy us and our way (our past way) of life. It's gone. The seeds of hate were planted through 9-11 and now the alt-right (nazis) are cultivating through false patriotism

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  18. Thank you for so eloquently- and bluntly - putting my feelings into words

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  19. Thank you, Jim; just... thank you. My feelings exactly: enough!

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  20. Thank you for this, Jim. And for bracketing your words with the tight hearted self-absorption of Trump and the open-spirited humanity of Mr. Obama. The contrast is — and always has been — striking.

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  21. I worked at the WTC recovery in NYC after that day. I remember the outpouring of love and unity from around the world. I remember the flowers and flags and notes stuck in the fencing. I remember the big tent building they called "Taj Mahal" that sat on Fulton St filled with art from children around the world. I remember the restaurant owners and celebrity chefs who volunteered to feed the workers.
    Remembering that is what I choose to do.
    I wish you were wrong. I really do. But you're not.

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  22. A-fucking-men. I'm so tired of the patriotism porn you see around this day. "Never Forget" everyone says. Quite frankly I'd love to forget, because all we remember is exactly what you talk about; how anything done in the name of the flag can now be justified. Thank you for putting into words what I can not.

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    1. “Patriotism porn” is right. I heard NPR report that there was a memorial service in Shanksville. I acknowledged to myself the sacrifice of the Flight 93 passengers and thought about the man from here and who has a memorial at the Mall of America. He’d be in his early 50s now. I remember the people lost in the WTC and at the Pentagon, and think about their families. This day belongs to them and their grief now. No need to pick at the scab. The scar is the reminder, not the wound.

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  23. Thank you! Thank you for saying so succinctly so much of what I've also been thinking all these years. This nation can never heal when it so gleefully picks at the scabs of this event and pokes everyone else in the eye for it like an enraged and wounded animal.

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  24. Thank you. Please let today bring you nothing but beautiful sunsets, delicate hummingbirds and iridescent dragonflies.

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  25. The world looks on us as an adolescent nation unable to deal with the realities of life as mature adults.
    I wonder why that is?

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  26. Enjoy your day, I'm gonna go to the building across the street and donate blood for their blood drive so I can save a life on this day.

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  27. Thank you Jim Wright. I feel vindicated by your essay. I have not, since September 11, 2001, listened to or watched any of the replays of the events of that day. Not once. I have not shared my refusal to engage in the "memorializing" with anyone around me because I knew doing so would lead to unwarranted attacks on my character, ad nauseum. I wholeheartedly agree with every position you took in this essay. Thank you also, for the Obama quote at the end. I will follow that road.

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  28. I have come to hate this day. Every year I get close to forgetting it, when someone drags its corps up out of the grave I made for it. Please get over it. 20 years after pearl the country was over it,20 years after 1969 assassinations, riots and unrest the country was over it. please get over it.

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  29. It saddens me the truth I see in this written post/essay. It saddens me that world we are leaving to our children. But I can hope that someday we can all be better than those who promote hate and the majority will know the difference between the two.

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  30. I'm a New Yorker and I approve this message.

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  31. I am tired of this horrific act being the catalyst for more horrific acts guised as patriotism when it's many things but that. I'm sick of it being the ground zero for the welling of hate and destructiveness it has fed since then. People died in the name of hate - fanning those useless flames is not a memorial. Thank you for speaking out.

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  32. Exactly this. My main thought that day was: Oh, no -- this day will change everything. This country is going to lose its fucking mind over this. This attack will make us eat our values and turn on ourselves and become a lawless monster. I'm horrified and angered and despondent that I turned out to be right in these assumptions. There is nothing sacred or honorable or celebratory about 9/11.

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  33. You hit the nail on the head. Thanks for this.

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  34. I so agree. For how many years will we be expected to dredge up an acceptable amount of public pain and sorrow to appropriately honor those who are gone?
    I hurt in my heart.
    That is enough.

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  35. Spot on assessment, Chief. I mourn the loss of unity we briefly had, and I am repulsed by the wallowing in the memory.

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  36. Thank you so much for this. This needs to be seen by everyone.

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  38. While I read the madness that is your daily mentions on Twitter, I don't have a Facebook account, or any other social media account for that matter, and so was unaware of the Facebook post you included above that led to the all-too-common vitriol that populates today’s discourse on social media. I too have tired of the grotesque spectacle that has become the annual 9/11 Schadenfreude, and have had little interest in it other than first few anniversaries, and none at all since watching a few documentaries that emerged around the 10th anniversary in 2011, looking for some insight on our “progress” with this national disease or ours. Of course, you're right – we as a country seem simply unable to move ahead in a way that significantly distinguishes us from previous renditions of ourselves. As an example, you mentioned Pearl Harbor above. Most mark December 7 in some fashion or another, but you are right in assessing that day as being different from 9/11. I look at the annual pilgrimages to the Arizona – by both US and Japanese veterans, by the way – as something completely “other” than what we now do with 9/11, which we now seem to fetishize in a masochistic kind of way. I view December 7 and the Arizona Memorial more as tribute – and perhaps even duty – between fellow soldiers and sailors WHO LIVED THE EXPERIENCE, looking to remember and honor their fallen comrades. I don’t know, maybe part of the 9/11 psychology it is the fact that virtually all of those who died on 9/11 were civilians that the average Joe could identify with, whereas Pearl Harbor was pretty much the exact opposite. I have never served, and in fact was only 16 when the draft ended in 1973, so there is a mix of things there for me that likely cloud my perspective and judgment. I can only thank you, once again, for your outstanding ability to so succinctly and frankly discuss such a difficult subject, irrespective of where the backlash may lie. Kudos to you for penning the thoughts that many of us have but often cannot articulate.

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  39. Thank you, Jim. I have felt and thought for many years what you articulate here. I 've not had the courage to say any of it out loud in the face of the pervasive "patriotism" surrounding this anniversary. Thanks to your writing, I'm setting my timidity aside. Permanently.

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  40. A wordsmithery follow-up:

    You say "... since 911 we Americans have became a callous people ..."

    Would suggest "... since 911 we Americans have BECOME a callous people ..."

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  41. James: "Hay Ma"
    https://youtu.be/GhjUngGPOuM

    Now the towers have fallen
    So much dust in the air
    It affected your vision
    Couldn't see yourself clear
    From the fall came such choices
    Even worse than the fall
    There's this chain of consequences
    Within
    Without

    Action cause and reaction
    Never follows to plan
    Black swans on your picnic table
    Knocking over the jam
    Please don't preach me forgiveness
    You're hardwired for revenge
    War is just about business
    Within
    Without

    Hey ma the boy's in body bags
    Coming home in pieces
    Hey ma the boy's in body bags
    Coming home in pieces
    Hey ma the boy's in body bags
    Coming home in pieces
    Coming home in pieces

    War

    The dead live on within us
    (In the atoms we trust)
    Keep your fingers crossed
    We were choking on the smoke and the dust
    And the lives that were lost
    Scratch the surface of liberals
    There's a beast underneath
    Others hiding their Jekylls
    Within
    Without

    Hey ma the boy's in body bags
    Coming home in pieces
    Hey ma the boy's in body bags
    Coming home in pieces

    War

    I can feel the daylight
    I can feel the daylight
    Raining on me
    Raining on me

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  42. Literally one of the best essays I've ever seen on the subject

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  43. You have eloquently written my feelings on this day...why I don't watch...why I don't "embrace" the anger...why I feel ugly this day. This day.

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  44. Amen! Picking at the wound not only keeps this nation scared and bitter, it continues to hurt those who have been left behind by those who died. It wounds them all over again. It’s not the wound that helps us remember, it’s the scar.

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  45. One of the things that irritate me most about this time of the year is the posts that say "why can't we be like we were on 9/12/01, when it didn't matter what race or party or whatever - we were all Americans?" My first thought, every time I see it, is that it is never posted by a Muslim. That day, that week or month or year, was not some utopian period of kumbaya unity. It seemed that way to some, but many (whether they weren't included in it, or just observant enough to watch for it) saw it for the fear-and-anger-fueled redrawing of tribal lines for a time.

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  46. Until we as a nation are able to respond rationally to threats, we will always respond out of fear, disproportionately and massively (thanks to the disproportionately humongous military budget.) That's on us and the "leaders" we elect. When I compare the Eisenhower era to the last 30 years, I am ashamed to call myself an American. Rightly or wrongly, I blame most of this on the fear-mongering of Fox News. Which absolves us not at all, for we are "free" enough to choose how we respond to any given stimulus. And don't get me started on (near-mandatory) masturbatory patriotism.

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  47. Another gem. And this one brought me to tears when I recognized the truth that an entire generation has lived their lives in a world of hate & rage & revenge.

    I noted a couple of possible typos:

    * The 2nd sentence after "We win. USA! USA! USA!" reads, "You goddamned right ..." - "YOU'RE goddamned right ..."

    * Paragraph beginning "It's been almost 20 years now, and in those decades since 911 we Americans have became a callous people ..." - IT HAS been almost 20 years now, and in those decades since 9-11 (<-- instead of 911, just for consistency) we Americans have BECOME a callous people ..."

    * Paragraph beginning "In the decades since 911, we have become a nation where, ..." - 9-11 (<-- again, just for consistency).

    * Paragraph beginning "We have become a nation that turns away the desperate .... or even flu shot to sick children." - flu SHOTS.

    * Paragraph beginning "And yet, in the decades since 911, we have found those responsible ..." - 9-11 for consistency

    * Paragraph beginning, "Today, right now as I write this, hundreds of media channels ... They interview those who witnessed the death and destruction ..." - THEY WILL interview those who witnessed ...

    * Paragraph beginning,"And we will let them do it, because in the decades since 911 we've become a nation of cutters ..." - 9-11 for consistency.

    * Paragraph beginning, "Since 911 an entire generation has been born ..." - 9-11 for consistency.

    Sorry. Former editor. Some things just jump out. And, like most editors, I can't hope to match the writing talent of those whose words I edit.

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  48. Sigh...I’m an eternal optimist about humanity but this is so true that I feel a shadow of despair. I’m glad you carved out a space to say what you and think and feel, see and know. I’m with all of you who love the concept and spirit of an America the Beautiful

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  49. Replies
    1. My god, but I’d love to see that happen! Can you imagine all the heads exploding and asses puckering the first time the bought-and-paid-for politicians realized exactly who they were going to have to deal with? He’d scare the hell out of them! And it would be a glorious sight to see!

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  50. Thank you for this. Fuck 9-11 indeed. When I badmouth 9-11 "festivities" I am criticized because if I'd been there, I'd feel differently. I may live on the West Coast now (where I moved to get away), but I'm a native New Yorker. I was in Manhattan that day. Saw it collapsing and burning with my own eyes. Have the terminal lung disease as a parting gift for breathing in all that crap. I was in midtown when it happened, but on my way home I ended up walking among the throngs of people being triaged who had been in the WTC when it happened. Walking zombies in those thermal blankets and covered in dust. Those experienced have burned their way into my memories in a way I wish they hadn't. Every year when the Blue Angle fighter planes come to my city for air shows, it brings back the PTSD of hearing low flying planes over a city and I want to start screaming. I have no desire to go to the "Ground Zero" amusement park. I mostly stay off social media on 9/11 because of all the national drudging up of this. It's too much and needs to stop.

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  51. Thank you for saying so clearly what I've felt about this day for years.

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  52. This of all days is the day that i cannot and will not listen to the news, watch TV, nor read a newspaper. i will never forget seeing the live coverage of those events, nor the way i felt that day, but the endless replay of what i have come to call the Pornography of Violence sickens me beyond words, as do all the things that followed and continue to follow that "commemorate" that day.
    You have summed up all those thoughts and feelings for me here in this essay. Thank you for that

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  53. As you know, we've never met, Mr. Wright. But it's like you live somewhere within me. You know where my better angels are, and you know how to unleash their righteous indignation. Bless you. I'm so glad you're a citizen here.

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  54. Thank you for having the deep compassion and warrior spirit to write this and live this in everything you do.

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  55. I've always thought on some of my trips how if we didn't have wars, we'd have nothing to tour. Crass but true and sad.

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  56. Thanks wow, that was so powerful and real. I agree with you, about it all. Eye for an eye, I think was the mentality. However as you say, so many more people were killed etc, in Iraq etc, and many innocent people too, they went through prolonged hideous, suffering, it was overkill. The only positive aspect (but I'm cynical, was that the U.S.A. army stayed and trained people in various skills, so they were more equipped, than they were before the war. The impact of war can never be erased in the victim's heart, no human should ever have to go through all that.

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  57. Thank you Jim. I too have grown tired of all the "patriotism" shown on this day, when those who shout about being American and loving the USA exhibit the very same hatred towards others that motivated the ones who carried out the terrorist attacks. I'm tired of POC being attacked and mocked simply for being different. I'm tired of them making excuses for the atrocities being committed on a daily basis. I'm tired of this day being used to spread more fear and propaganda. You have put into words what many of us are feeling today.

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  58. "Horrible, yes?" Yes. Unamerican - No.

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  59. I remember the day--because I was there. I remember exactly the moment I realized standing there that it was an attack and in that blistering awful moment I realized EXACTLY what it would mean--what we would do. And I went into the office bathroom and threw up. I lost a lot of people in my communities that day. I cannot smell burning metal without being utterly shaken. But I've never once relished the revenge. I want to scream at every 'never forget' and 'God Bless America'. I especially want to scream at the thousands who WEREN'T THERE. Who treat this as their damned bloodbath excuse and drag out the corpses again and they never had it as anything more than a disaster movie on TV. I recognize the pain and loss of the day. But I also recognize that the pain I felt turned into reaching out, turned into finding an online community, turned into finding my husband online in a fantasy group. Turned into being married 12 years with two kids. Life continues. I find dragging out the corpses and bathing in the blood constantly very obscene indeed.

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  60. I'm in full agreement about the audacity of releasing 911 calls to the public. Whether the calls are related to 9/11, a celebrity domestic abuse or overdose incident, a murder trial or simply an average call from a citizen, these phone calls are intensely private and should not be fodder for the nosey and the ghoulish.

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  61. Great column. Well past time to start repairing the self-inflicted damage to America that began on 9/12.

    Suggested edit: in a few places you've written 911 as the date instead of 9-11. This confuses the date with the comments about 911 calls.

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  62. Once again, thank you, Jim, for expressing what I have never quite been able to put in to words.

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  63. If it had happened when Kennedy was president, it would now be the Reagan Administration. That's how long it's been.

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  64. Unlike any of the day's apocalypse porn, this actually brought tears to my eyes.

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  65. Nice to know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

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  66. Thank you. It's nice to hear what real patriotism sounds like in this age of Patriotism-Hijacked-By-Fascism. Any real patriot is repulsed and angered by the constant infringement on our basic freedoms that you eloquently described.

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  67. Well said. Thank you.

    K

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  68. Thank you for this. I thought there was something wrong with me for not wanting to keep reliving this year after year.

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  69. I truly appreciate your ability and courage to voice this message.

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  70. I, a Navy Cold War veteran, share many of those feelings. Yet because I do, some yokel who never served anything but himself at the buffet table, who wears an American flag t-shirt, swills beer and sings that gerd-derned Lee Greenwood song, will tell me that I am not a patriot. That because I never fell prey to Bush/Cheney's version of love of country, I am a subversive. Un-American. Not deserving to live in the US of A. As you say, the media will make us wallow in the blood of those images just to help sell a few more prescription drugs, Big Macs and Buicks. Yes, I know where I was and what I was doing when the planes hit. So what.

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  71. On that day, my first reaction was horror. My second reaction was fear for how America would respond.

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  72. I knew that day would change America. I knew we would change, sadly, from a fundamentally open, trusting society to a more cautious one. I had no idea how far and intense that change would become. Thank you again, Chief for articulating so well what we feel.

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  73. It doesn't let me slect "I cried" on mobile.

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  74. This morning, I found myself searching for and reading newspaper archives from September 10, 2001. There's no way I could easily or clearly write why I was doing so -- at least not without a lot of work -- but I think your essay comes close to describing my thoughts. Thanks, Jim.

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  75. Great article! I hate to sound like a nerd but intentionally or not this really played up the parallels between post 9-11 USA and Achilles in the Illiad. After his buddy is killed he goes nuts killing and killing and killing but can't get the satisfaction he wants.

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  76. Thank you Jim. It's what I've thought since then. Time to move on. Enjoy your day sir.

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  77. thanks, chief -- your words matter more than most - I appreciate and empathize with your angst and efforts -peace.

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  78. We are letting politicians lead us around by nose-rings of hate forged from our insecurities and fears. We've confused patriotism with nationalism and militarism.

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  79. I moved on a long time ago. I wish everyone else would, too. Remember, but don't wallow.

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  80. That may have been the most honest and profound thing I have ever read. ... And right.

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  81. After the 2000 Presidential election was stolen, I wated for the other shoe to drop, where law would be abandoned. On 9-11-2001 I heard it fall.

    We could honor this day. We could honor it as a day to begin to restore our democracy.

    Let's do it!

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  82. I've read where this is just one example of an almost pornographic, masturbatory sort of ersatz grieving (the people who didn't actually lose loved ones), a self aggrandizing festival of bullshit that goes right along with displaying plastic yellow ribbons on your bumper and American flags on your porch without meaningful or constructive action. The real victims were sometimes vilified or ignored (John Stewart had to shame Congress into extending benefits for first responders, WTAF?), and widows were mocked for getting financial windfalls. Sometimes I really loathe this country.

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  83. Friend speaks my mind. I fervently hope that my grandkids will have the same relationship to this day that I have to Pearl Harbor day.

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  84. Extremely well said, Jim. I would add only one item. I blame the capitalistic nature of Democracy for the constant drive for more hate, more war, more blood. More money. Privatizing and deregulating everything under the Sun. We should be pushing for compassion and equality for all, rather than profit for the rich. Thank you for your eloquent share.

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  85. This is a phenomenal piece of writing that absolutely hits the nail on the head of everything I hate about this day. Because you're right, I can't think about it without also thinking about the destruction and death we rained down on so many thousands as a result or the freedoms we willingly threw away that my children will never know, all so we could feel "safe." I hate the forced patriotism porn that feels ever more hollow. I hate all of it. Thanks for so eloquently putting it all into words.

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  86. WOW, I ought to have read this before posting my own reactions. Thank you for writing this. I appreciate your angst and your focus on principles.

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  87. I'm not an established writer. Gotta keep the day job (programmer) but I attempted to express similar sentiments. Not even close to your work here. Stumbled across you via a mutual friend. Thank you for writing.

    https://medium.com/@julia_sheehy/long-rant-45e6ebd8806d

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  88. Memories of 911 don't, but should, include - the lack of security at Logan that allowed the hijackers to enter as airport workers; the stories of hijackers that took flying lessons and allegedly told the instructors they didn't need to learn landing procedures; the countless descriptions of the events that preceded the attacks that were ignored, possibly due to inter-governmental conflicts between the FBI, CIA and other agencies that could have prevented this; the fact that for some reason, NYPD and NYFD radios couldn't communicate with each other; and finally, what an insufferable pompous asshole Rudy Giuliani was as he postured throughout for the cameras.

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  89. I'm tired of the Hate. I'm tired of the right spewing FEAR and HATRED. 2 Timothy 4:3
    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

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  90. You said it, sir. Keep the good fight.

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  91. I woke up this morning during the "Presidential" address. My reaction was that he loves this stuff.

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  92. LIHOP; and the Saudis flew out of the country the next day, when NO other civilian planes were flying.
    That is all...

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  93. Just want to say thank you for the truth. Much respect sent from Canada xo

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  94. I work in a public library and the authorities did come for the books, wanted to know who was using computers and we stopped the bastards. I will always be proud of my profession for the stand we have always taken: Free People Read Freely®

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  95. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  96. Well, said, Sir. I never watch any of the "reruns" that churn up the pain of that day. As you said, it's obscene. And in the face of this administration's kissing up to the Saudis, even the thought of it makes me livid and sick. There's no point.

    You've taken on a terrible burden, writing this blog. You are a voice of reason that doesn't avoid the ugly parts. Make sure you take care of yourself. Keep making art. Your work makes the world more beautiful, and we all need as much joy and loveliness as we can make.

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  97. Thank you, Jim.
    I don't have commenting privileges on your FB page, but thank you for those posts, too.

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  98. Thank you for writing this and for your previous posts on each anniversary.

    I recall on the day of the attack thinking that the USA was at a crucial pivot point. I recall thinking that there was an opportunity to respond to the tragedy in a different way. A certain form of terrorism, which other nations had already experienced, hit the USA in a big way for the first time. Other nations lost people in the WTC, and other nations responded with expressions of sympathy and offers of help.

    But instead of accepting the solidarity and sympathy of the global community and working with other nations to build a better world, which is an appropriate response to a tragedy (esp. one perpetrated by non-state actors), the leadership in the USA decided that it would be better to use it as an excuse to strike out at people who were not responsible.

    And here we are. We squandered the opportunity to have many nations in the world work together to solve a common problem, which would have set us up well to handle other problems that require work beyond national borders (climate change, for example). The USA has alienated former allies and has been aggressive for twenty years. With few friends left and having lost the trust and confidence of others in the global community, how can we reach out and together solve the big issues that we all face?

    So 9-11 makes me sad, because people in the USA and elsewhere have not been able to honor those who died in the only way that the victims (and perhaps many of their grieving families) would have wanted us to. It would have been good for all of us, too -- helping in a greater cause would have given those who struggle a greater purpose and would have given us all the skills and muscle that we would need to work together to solve other problems.

    So every year, I dwell not on the towers and the Pentagon and the flight that crashed -- but on the coming together that never had a chance to happen.

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  99. Thanks for once again summing up my feelings so very well. The annual Pick at the Scab Until It Bleeds Day is one I hate seeing coming. Ghods, can we just grow up as a nation for once and get on with life, just as we've done with every other disaster we've ever faced?

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  100. Thank you for saying what I was feeling. Some one at work today mentioned we didn't do a moment of silence, and it took all my strength to not respond harshly. Even on 9/11 itself I never watched all the video coverage, and I haven't ever since. What this country has turned into causes me such despair.

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  101. I will never ever forget how my country used this horrific event in which people from many many nationalities and religions died in the Towers and elsewhere, as an excuse to marginalize and criminalize other nationalities and religions, and kill them. That's what 9/11 is to me.

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  102. Typo Patrol:

    "And many people were offended. Goddamn, were they were offended." There seems to be an extra "were" after the comma.

    Awesome stuff as usual.

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  103. Thank you for writing this ... It needs to be time to place it along-side December 7th - acknowledge this part of our history. Kids have enough to be scared of in the US without this added to what's on their tray.

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  104. Thank you for putting into words so eloquently what many of us feel, without words to express.

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  105. Thank you! This is pretty much how I feel about today anymore. Just because I'm not posting about it or watching the one too many media shows or documentaries, it doesn't mean I don't remember it. I remember it quite vividly. I appreciate your words, as always.

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  106. I hate this day. I did not even turn on my TV. I turned it off last night when the mere mention of 9-11 got my dander up. I will never forget that day. My brother was the liason in the Pentagon to the Missouri National Guard. I watched as the 4th plane hit the Pentagon. Reported that it hit the National Guard wing. Needless to say, the entire area was locked down, no communication in or out. We found out only later that unbeknownst to us, because it was classified, the National Guard had moved to the other side of the Pentagon a few weeks earlier. We did not hear from my brother for 24 hours. The horror we felt those 24 hours was not about revenge, not about hate, but about the thought of losing a family member, and the guilt that our family member survived when so many others did not. This is only the second time today that I have even thought about the event. 1st was when I decided not to participate in the shit show and kept my TV and radio off, and did not go onto Facebook until after dinner. I dutifully skipped all the posts that made mention of the attack, except this one. Because I knew that Jim Wright wouldn't pull any punches. Thank you Jim.

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  107. 9/11 was a horrible horrible attack - and the whole world supported the USA

    And then to our absolute horror the USA proceeded to do everything that Bin Laden wanted you to do

    The real horror of 9/11 was not the attack - but the US response, TSA, Border Security - and “The Department of Homeland Security”

    It even sounds like something out of 1984

    Then the “Patriot Act” a “War of Choice” against a third party - and Torture

    Everything Bin Laden wanted you to do!!!

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  108. I've hated 9-11 since the day it happened. I think about all the phone calls I handled in my call center - people desperate to call their loved ones who lived in NYC, worked at the World Trade Center or nearby. People IN the WTC desperate to get messages to their loved ones while trying to flee. I think about my coworkers who stayed home to huddle in front of their TVs watching our nation turned inside out. 10 hours on the phones, weeping and comforting each and every one, you couldn't pry me away. Yes, I agree. Then I watched the Patriot Act enabled and trembled because I knew what it brought - everything you wrote about. I hate 9-11.

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  109. The "Patriot Act" was unconstitutional on the face of it. Yet, here we are, it is still the law of the land, and I live, like you, in one of the "Bill of Rights free" zones within 100 miles of a border or any sea coast.

    Their was a terrorist incident here once, the "Millennial Bomber", intercepted in late 1999 at Port Angeles. An ordinary Customs Agent, doing his ordinary job, without the extra-constitutional powers of the Patriot Act. Funny how that part of the system worked as intended, long before we turned to Authoritarians for our national comfort.

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  110. thanks for saying out loud what ive been afraid to whisper, but have felt so strongly for at least 10 yrs.

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  111. So eloquent and thoughtful, all that's left to say is THANK YOU.

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  112. Spot on summary of some tragic realities here. It is now Sept 12th 2019 - in Australia anyhow - our nation too, followed the USA into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and against AQ offshoot Da'esh in Syria. Nearly 20 years on from 2001 and, well, leaves me wondering :

    Is the "War on Terror"* finally over at last and, if so, have we won? If so what have we won - and what have we become?

    * Notably phrasing in calling it a War on Terror - an abstract emotion literally and a tactic of politically motivated violence by metaphor - rather than say a specific war on, say, Al Quaida. A specific group that could be eventually destroyed and defeated.

    PS. Very minor nitpick, sorry Jim Wright but for clarity; when you say we've killed Osama Bin Laden's "successor" I'm guessing you were meaning Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who founded AQ in Iraq and / or Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi not OBL's number 2 in AQ and its current leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, right?

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  113. Today I paid no attention to the date. I got up, I had a pretty good day.

    That's how you beat the the terrorists.

    Don't hate. Don't fear. Live well.

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    Replies
    1. Truth.

      They want us to fear?

      Fear - that is, as Frank Herberts famous 'Dune' litany goes, the mind-killer.

      Well, fuck 'em. Don't fear. Live.
      Live well, Live wisely, Think and be Kind.
      And you have thereby avoided falling into their trap.

      They want our hate and loathing and obsession, they want thoughts of them* and what they want and the supposed threat they pose to you to dominate your lives?

      Sod em, forget em, just live and be happy and that,
      That, is how you win a war against Terror.
      By understadningand NOt being afraid.

      Well that or by nuking Stepehn King! ;-)

      * "Them" in this case NOT being giant ants.

      Delete
  114. I felt so vindicated reading this yesterday and even more so reading these comments. Every year I wonder if I'm a sociopath because the observances do nothing but make me angry. The Facebook cover photos and profile pictures of my friends started changing the night before, and I knew I had to stay away. It's the knee-jerk reaction: "9/11: MUST POST PHOTOS AND FLAGS" that bugs me. And how we return to "America Fuck Yeah" every single year, and then go back to the wreckage of our once-great nation that we spinelessly handed to Donald Trump to destroy.

    Thank you for doing this. I linked to you here.
    http://bbrebooted.blogspot.com/2019/09/18-years-on-when-is-it-time-to-stop.html

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  115. I posted this to my puny little blog six years ago. I would write every word again today. https://mlraminiakcomingtoterms.blogspot.com/2013/09/never-forget.html

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  116. Reading this made me write something 9 pages long. I don't really have anywhere to post it. I just felt the need to write it.

    I'm a school teacher. Yesterday I gave a lesson about 9/11. I wrote about my day. About the lesson, about what the kids did, and said. All as private-protection as possible. No names, no locations.

    Some of the kids, afterwards, were introspective. Maybe there is hope.

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  117. Nothing to say really, except thanks for this. Glad to know there are at least a few sane Americans left who are sick of fetishizing 9/11. Enough already.

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  118. I would offer you a hug, Jim, if I wasn't on the other side of the country.
    Thank you for so eloquently sharing what I and many many others feel this week.

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  119. Thank you for putting in writing what I've been feeling for the past 15 or so years. Perfect. Really. Thank you.

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  120. I posted this one an email list where the piece was shared.

    One list member commented: << Wow. >>

    Wow, indeed. But wow, or fantastic, or amazing, incredible or superb or outstanding, any superlative word of approval is doomed to fall short, inadequate to express the power of this piece. It is discourse so worthy of approbation as to defy our attempts at praise. Yeah, Nancy, wow.

    Its first two words capture us. Startle us. Make us want to -- no, need to know why those words. In all likelihood, they even disgust some of us.

    We must never forget the 2977 people who undeservedly lost their lives in Lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the many thousands more whose lives were irreparably wrenched from normalcy by their deaths. But, as we are told, here, we must not wallow in the horror of that day. To do so reflects concern for ourselves and not for those who died. I would even suggest that there are those who revel in the memory of 11 September, 2001, who use the evil which was carried out that day to perpetuate yet more evil as they continue to urge us to revile, to hate, to desire a similar fate for all those who are different from us in any way. To do so shamelessly dishonors all those who lives were taken from them on that day by using their deaths to incite a false patriotism, a perverted love of country that should be abhorrent to each and every one of us.

    Wayne

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  121. The purpose of terrorism is to spread terror, to force the target government to greater and greater repression of its own people, and thus destabilize it.
    Tell me again who "won."

    -- EMH

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  122. Thank you, Jim. My husband’s best friend was in Tower 1. He went back to help others out tho’ he’d already gotten his team to safety down the stairs. Neither his family nor his loved ones need to live in the shallow grave of this day, over and over. Thank you for helping this community find a voice for what so many of us have thought, observed and needed for so many years. And, I say, keep the typos - your voice is your voice. Peace to you. JPB

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  123. I agree wholeheartedly with the gist of this piece. Unfortunately, I only read less than half of it, because the author is an insufferable windbag. The piece just ran on, and on, and on, and *fucking* on. Cut it down to 1/3 of what was written here and maybe you have something worth publishing. As written, it's soporific.

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  124. FWIW, I've just done some wiki-checking re Trump's opening quote here
    which finds 40 Wall Street is actually listed as 18th tallest building in NYC. Plus it was even beaten in its own day by the Chrysler Building.

    Trivia and probly already well known but still - for those like me who didn't know till now.

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  125. Thank you. I read the original 9/11 post from you to my wife. She was in agreement with you as well. Thank you for providing some proof that it's not wrong to feel this way (and that other people feel that way too).

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