I was getting breakfast in the Seymour College Union at SUNY Brockport and everyone was glued to the big screen TV. The first plane had just hit and I went straight to my folks. Not knowing but suspecting what happened I worried which way America would jump. By the time I got to mom and dad’s house the second plane hit and they confirmed my worries.
Over the next few years too many Americans and almost all our politicians were willing to throw values we had at least played lip service to under the bus. I even let myself get pulled into bs, neo-con thinking on the Iraq War in the beginning, budding student of international relations and comparative development that I was. And yes, we were lied to about Iraq, though that does not excuse my lazy thinking. Demagogues  used that terrible attack that lost us both three thousand lives and our sense of invincibility that we developed through the Cold War, to line their pockets and solidify their status at the expense of more lives, both foreign and domestic. The terrorists won that day because we lost our soul, arming our police like the military in the name of an impossible perfect security.
So I want you to remember today, the three thousand plus who died in the attack, the millions of New Yorkers who spent hours, then days, then weeks sifting through the rubble and/or wondering if someone they knew was not coming home, scarred by the cloud that burst forth from lower Manhattan, the hundreds of thousands of Afghani, Iraqi, and now Syrian, men, women and children thrown on the fire of our rage and grief over the acts of men from none of those countries. I want you to remember them, and remember that after several thousand years of written history, all of us, from every corner of the planet, still allow ourselves to be played by men crying out for their place in history using our petty, tribalist instincts. 9/11 WAS our wake up call, just not in the way we became convinced of.


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