“September 11th, 2051”
Caleb John Clark, September 2001.
“Do you remember that attack in 2001 on those old towers”, the child asked me after having returned fresh from the days history lesson at school.
“Yes, 50 years ago today I saw the towers fall live on TV. The rubble smoked for over a week from fires of steel, steel so strong it stopped a flying jet dead in its tracks and didn’t fall. But the metal then melted and the towers fell like dusty card houses. The rubble was like a planet with a molten core and jagged smoking surface, a planet with ants crawling over it taking tiny bits away around the clock and seemingly making no dent.
Back then we used the “War” badly. Like with the “War on drugs”. We later would use words like “Terrorism Defense” after realizing that the word war was out of date and implied a winning and losing against enemies proudly standing in the light. When applied to things like drugs and fanatics, a part of humanity that does not unconditionally surrender on the dotted line, we would always “lose” the “war”.
We also used words like “did” as in “We’ll find those that did this.” Later we realized that we had already found the people who had did it, and they were dead. We could only find those that “planned it’ or were “responsible” for planning it, and those that might do something like that again. Slowly our floating cities of aircraft carriers, our tanks, our bombers, our mighty military was a dinosaur and our young people who were READY to die, were no match for young people strewn about the world who WANTED to die. We saw eventually that simply killing them without thinking about other strategies would only increase their ranks. Eventually we used information, psychology, technology, education, alliances, and yes some good old fashioned military, to reduced the threat.
American’s and the world’s emotions were magnified that week and the weeks following. I saw a man waving a huge flag on a freeway overpass in a manic dance. People gave so much blood they had to turn them away because there were so few wounded. People with a screw loose let that screw fly free and killed and hassled people for looking like the terrorists. A drunk drove into mosque and then was found trapped and calling his mother for help. Some people were angry, some sad, some wanted to move, some joined the Army, some blamed, some stuck their heads in the sand, but most just tried to help, stay united, and figure out this new thing. The world rallied as well, but with a bit more restraint, having been in this new reality for a long time, enough time to have their arrogance checked. The news was much more manipulable back then and did things like show people celebrating in the Middle East hours after the attack. Later we found out most folks were not partying in the streets. Mostly though the press did their best to report that the giant had awoke again from a milk and honey slumber, awoke to a world that was more dangerous from that point after.
“And what did you do when the giant woke up?”
“Yeah, when you woke up, what did you do?”
[Insert your answer here]