On Sept. 11, 2001, 2,977 people were killed when hijackers crashed two passenger planes into the towers of the World Trade Center and another plane into the Pentagon, with a fourth plane crashing in Pennsylvania. The loss of life and the sight of the total collapse of the World Trade Center left the nation stunned and mourning.
We still live not just with that, but with the damage wrought by the politics of the attack’s aftermath—two long-running wars expensive in both lives and dollars, and the resurgence of a corrosive jingoism and assault on civil liberties. And—as old as it might make many of us feel—by now, many people born after 9/11 or who were too young to understand what was going on at the time are adults. But the fact that there are adults who don’t remember it doesn’t mean that we’ve left that moment in the past. It means, instead, that the politics of that moment shaped a generation.
For those of us who did live through it, at whatever distance, the memories linger, whether in the “where were you when” sense or in the sickening realization of how the attack was going to be used to draw the nation into war. And every year, we remember. As another 9/11 anniversary rolls around, the day of the attack itself grows distant but its impact still shapes the nation. What are your thoughts and feelings today?