Sometimes, however, one event obscures another, whether by scope, end result, publicity, or how it affects us personally, but that doesn’t make the “lesser” personal event any less important. I’m sure many people passed away that day that had nothing to do with the Twin Towers in any way, shape or form. And no doubt many relationships came to an irreversible end on that day too. But I’m also sure that many children were born on that very same day, reaffirming the obvious that life goes on, even as others may be able to point to that day as the beginning of the most wonderful event of their life.
To this day, there may still be unanswered questions about what happened on September 11, 2001. There no doubt are even conflicting stories among those who were there. But there can be no question that after the event, call it what you will, New York City was forever changed, the Twin Towers no longer existed, physical damage was extensive and devastating, human resources in all possible forms came to the fore above and beyond the call of duty, and human damage — when it was even possible to calculate all the pain and suffering and loss of life — took the biggest hit of all.
It may be hard for anyone who suffered on that day or from that day’s devastation to put themselves in anyone else’s shoes for even a moment to imagine what it must feel like when their monuments or iconic buildings or even their ordinary towns are bombed and destroyed — especially if “those people” who suffer that kind of devastation might be considered our enemies. In war, there are always at least two sides, and what is being experienced on one side is often just as devastatingly experienced on the other. Just as everyone in this country is not behind every decision to go to war, to “invade” a country, to bomb a country, to kill its citizens in those circumstances that seem to call for such actions, not everyone in the countries that we might bomb or “invade,” and so forth are fans of doing that to us. People are people everywhere: mothers nurse and nurture their children; fathers try to keep the families together by working and earning enough for the necessities of life, if not the little luxuries — which in some countries could mean something as little as fresh fruit or as “big” as a warm blanket. True, some of those ordinary mothers and fathers, and even children, in those families just mentioned, could well be suicide bombers or terrorists as we have discovered — but maybe not and certainly not nearly all.
Maybe many of them are just like us. And they feel the devastation as much as we did… and still do.
The point is that it’s all in the thought, the idea of those who perpetrate the devastation. From a country’s or organization’s or some group’s perspective, if the thought is to destroy everything that stands in the way of getting their way, whether for political or religious reasons; if the idea is to have everyone believe as they believe — which means “difference” and “individualism” and freedom of choice are condemned and therefore dealt with in whatever way can make their point — then those with that certain viewpoint will not stop till they get their way, whatever it takes.
Just as we always remind others that you can’t teach good manners and politeness by watching your children every minute and punishing them when they miss the mark, we need to stress the positive that we need to teach the thought behind good manners and the idea behind politeness so that children will act in the appropriate way even when no one is looking.
For those who follow their leaders blindly, we can always try to educate them whenever and however we can. For those who teach others to follow blindly, we might have to employ a slightly different plan: educate always, when and as possible, but we must always remember that they are telling themselves at the same time that they must educate us. And we do not have access to those young minds that are raised on hate or self-righteousness to do what their parents teach them to do.
When you not only believe you are right, but believe that God wants you to do what you do, is requesting or even demanding that you do what you have been taught to do, how can you do otherwise? — UNLESS somehow some “outside” influence got into your thoughts to create different ideas about God and life and death.
Once a year, every year, “9/11” returns to every country that has suffered devastation.become an item that shows up on every calendar bearing important events listed thereon.
The noteworthy event of the not-quite-so-distant past often referred to as the one during which “everyone remembers where they were or what they were doing” — the assassination of JFK — might now be replaced with the more recent event of the past, the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11.
I, for one, certainly remember that day, that very first report of that event, since I was just boarding the early morning bus heading for LA to tend to the needs of my aunt and uncle when I heard the unbelievable words come out over the TV in the bus depot downtown. I still had to board, but fortunately (perhaps) I sat next to a woman who had a cell phone.
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at email@example.com.