A few notes on this sixth anniversary of the day that changed everything:
- Two things occurred on the evening of September 10, 2001 that would normally not stick in one’s mind six years later. One – on the Monday Night Football game I was watching, the popular wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, Ed McCaffrey, suffered a gruesome leg injury that ended his season on opening night. I don’t know why, but I often thought of that sporting tragedy during the subsequent days, as the world’s attention drifted far away from sports. Two – as I took a late-night walk around my suburban Toronto neighborhood in the fresh late-summer night air, I walked past a taxi stopped at the side of a dead-end residential street, with the Muslim driver kneeling on a mat on the asphalt and performing his prayers. I often thought of him as the week progressed, too.
- During that era, I was a daily listener of The Howard Stern show. On the morning of the 11th, I had Stern on the radio as I readied myself for work. I was putting my shoes on, literally seconds away from leaving home for the office, when I heard Stern’s producer break in to the show to announce a fire at the World Trade Center, possibly caused by a small plane crash. I decided to flip on the TV to see if there was any live coverage. It was just before 9:00 am. A few minutes later, after finding live coverage on Fox News, I witnessed the second plane hit the second tower with my own eyes. I never made it to the office that day, and sent my staff home by noon. There was no business to be had, anyway.
- Before 9/11, I hadn’t given Islam a second thought. Within a week, I was reading the Koran, and trying to figure out why Muslims weren’t organizing “Not In My Name” marches throughout the civilized world. Six years later, I’m well educated on the religion of Islam, and I have a good understanding as to why no marches took place.
- The human tragedy unfolding before my eyes hit me hard. My wife (fiancee at the time) can attest to the toll it took. I did not see buildings collapse that day; I saw individual human lives snuffed out in an instant; families ripped apart; children faced with a parentless future; friends robbed of a lifetime of joy; survivors faced with a lifetime of guilt. I watched people’s reactions to the carnage: some felt the same emotions; some could not bring themselves to face it and simply blocked it out; some began to rationalize and excuse, and look for reasons why America brought this on to itself. I discovered that soullessness and calousness were endemic in the world around me. Too many simply saw the explosions, and a chance to apply academic theories; too few saw the humanity. This is when I became a conservative.
- Six years later, the decent world is still under attack. Every day, every hour, from within and without. And yet, Biblical wisdom asks the pertinent question to the masses who refuse to face truth, and thus keep us all in danger. (I’ve never quoted scripture before, but here goes) – From Proverbs 1:22:
“How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing? And fools hate knowledge?
Yes, Daily-Show-watching, Michael-Moore-adoring, God-mocking, Global-Climate-Worrying, status-pursuing youth idolizers – someone’s had you pegged for more than 3,000 years.