by Thomas Pace on September 11, 2015

Fourteen years ago today America was changed forever. I remember how afraid I was. It’s not hyperbole to say that my construct of reality was truly challenged. I felt a kind of permeating vulnerability that I had not thought it possible to feel. Nothing I had ever experienced in my entire lifetime had prepared me for what those planes did to those buildings.


That night I hung an American flag in my front window. And, for the first time in what seemed like ages, America, still reeling from the fallout of a contentious Presidential election that left a bitter taste in the mouths of many, was again united for a common cause. The whole world, it seemed, was unified behind us.


In the days that followed my fear hardened to anger.

I wanted answers.

I wanted revenge.

I wanted Osama Bin Laden.

Dead or alive.

The man behind these evil acts could not be allowed to go punished.

The world would soon see what Americans were truly made of.

Bid Laden could not be allowed to win.


On days like today, when I revisit that clear blue Tuesday morning, it’s still hard for me to believe. It still hurts.

It hurts to see those planes hit the towers.

It hurts to see those dazed people covered in ashes.

It hurts to see the first responders pour into a building we now know will soon collapse.

The photos of the broken Pentagon.

The field outside of Shanksville, PA.


On days like today, when I look back on September 11, 2001, I can’t help but also see, in my peripheral vision, all that’s happened in the fourteen years since then.

A lot has happened.

A lot has changed.


Now we’ve got the Department of Homeland Security.

The TSA.

Guantanamo Bay.


We’ve endured the folly of the war in Iraq.

Shock and Awe.

Abu Ghraib.

Water boarding.

CIA Black Sites.

Color-coded terror alerts.

The NSA spying on us all.


And while over 2 million American soldiers have served their country honorably since 2001,

And while military spending has doubled,

Americans are as afraid and divided as ever.

Radical Islam is rampant in the Middle East.

Prejudice again Muslims is at an all-time high in America.

We are teetering on the verge of another war. This time with Iran.

So much blood spilled.

So much treasure squandered.

So much good will wasted.


I remember the tears that finally came while I drove home from work two days later. I remember being comforted by what I felt was a long-divided America united by an unspeakable tragedy.


Osama Bin Laden had made a terrible mistake.

Osama Bin Laden was going to pay.

Osama Bind Laden did not know what Americans were made of.

Or did he?



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