On that horrible day 9,11, 2001, so many people were killed (nearly 3000) when the World Trade Center’s came down, some people despaired for the future. The Pentagon was attacked, and that plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field. A shocking and life-changing experience for all of us. For the actual victims of the attack, it meant death or post-traumatic stress syndrome for the survivors. They were victims in a real sense. Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda brought Afghanistan to the forefront of our awareness..

There is always a new day.

 This was caused by 19 terrorists. I didn’t understand what the TV news people, and the newspaper people, and radio announcers were saying when they said the world would never be the same. Everyone reacted as if the world was over. They acted as if we were all victims. But I never felt like a victim. I felt angry. I felt irate. 

But I did not feel personally violated and assaulted. Maybe that is because I was in Michigan when it happened. Being far from the East Coast separated me from the action. However my brother, my oldest son, and two of my granddaughters were all living in NYC. It seemed a good time to think of a way to retaliate.

They told us our innocence was over. But I was not innocent. Were you indeed “innocent”? Did you find it so strange that terrorists would try to do again what they had already attempted earlier? The World Trade Center bombing in 1993 was a terrorist attack on the same buildings.

The media emphasized on that day September 11th, all sorts of final awful things. They showed the people jumping from the buildings rather than die slowly inside them. They forced viewers to picture the victims as helpless, and by definition, all of us are victims.

 As soon as anyone becomes a victim, they give their power away to someone else. Being a victim of some imagined enemy is not the same thing as being attacked by terrorists. That was an act of war. President Bush thought long and hard about what we were going to do to retaliate. Retaliation is one thing, but cowering in fear is a whole different thing.

It never occurred to me in a million years that we would batten down our airports. There has never been another terrorist attack on an airport. There probably never will be. Yet, we run around like rabbits getting our bodies scanned, taking our shoes off and being treated like criminals. On the off chance, we might be a violent terrorist.

It is shameful. Because they have done studies which prove these searches are not effective. (just humiliating)

 We are just regular Americans trying to go somewhere, and travel is our right. As for the terrorists, we’re not even allowed to separate out those who might be likely. This means that although most people are NOT terrorists, we are ALL treated as if we might be.

The terrorists were all of a certain age, of a certain ethnic group. Because of political correctness, we’re not allowed to profile. So even though they are more likely to do us harm, they not terrorized as much as we are. Travelers in the USA are terrorized by our own people trying to protect us. I am an older woman, a grandmother and yet I used to get ‘selected for special screening’ all the time! 

 Then they started that particularly terrible law called the Patriot Act. What a really misleading name that turned out to be. It’s the least patriotic act there ever was. It destroys our freedom; it destroys our right to protest; it destroys the first amendment. It is trying to destroy the Second Amendment now. It puts us all in the position of being a suspect . 

What happened to ‘not guilty until proven otherwise’? Where did that concept go? My message today is: “Stop acting like victims. We’re not victims. We are strong adaptable Americans. We will survive.  

snow covered blossoms

If we didn’t have that reputation, our country would not be so sought after. Other people want to come here because they think this country is fantastic and full of opportunity. Let’s keep it fantastic by keeping it free. It was never in our culture or our nature run from trouble.

Remember this. Our sense of security because of our place in the world is real. We are the country where so much of the rest of the world wants to be. One of the most important things we have is our bravery in the face of danger. Be proud and strong and stay alert, but don’t cower in fear. 

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

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