Seven years have passed, it’s hard to believe, I know.
Since that day I have thought a lot about it, what it has meant for me, for the world, for America. I thought a lot about it on that day as well. I thought about the three nations I scrawled on the back of a notebook, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was Al Qaeda from the beginning, always, obviously. I watched as the crippled USS Cole limped back into port. And shed tears of mourning for the sailors who would not be coming home with their ship. At one time in my life I was a warrior, a soldier, after all.
And I thought about what war meant, I packed my gear, I nursed my hangover, I went to work. The day, surreal. I agonized over activation notices and death’s cold hand waiting for me in some far off mountainous, desert land. I yenned for the fray.
I thought about watching a generation march off to war, to be forever changed by the battle and the gore. About seeing a reactionary government sing God Bless America on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. About seeing that same reactionary government implode upon itself as fleeting grasps are made at the ever waning system of checks and balances so essential to this democracy.
I thought about war on a global scale. About a war never-ending and about those vague and undefinable enemies lurking in the shadows and plazas of the world. I thought about 3,000 people facing their death, at a moment’s notice. And I thought about tens of thousands more facing their deaths at a point further down the timeline of war.
I remembered the weapons of “chemical dust,” and M-16s and depleted uranium, tactical nukes and grenade launchers. I thought about shrapnel, and jet fuel. And 3,000 souls buried in dust.
About war wounds and Purple Hearts. About burns, screams and gnarled ankles mangled by metal. I thought about night patrols getting lost in the fog. About students with rifles and machine guns making snap decisions about who lives and who dies. I thought about My Lai and Abu Ghraib. I thought about Gitmo.
About peace and war and innocence lost. A shopping nation sending its youth off to fight, the poorest, the lowest bracket of society, the ones with no other chance, with no leg up and without opportunity. They’re always the ones who bear the brunt of war, who bleed its blood and wallow in its carnage.
I thought about a lot of things. I thought about fear, and asked myself if I was afraid. I thought about duct tape, anthrax and plastic sheeting. The inevitable response or lack thereof from an inept and out of touch government. I thought about a world consumed by terror. By the fear of ghosts and that which is unseen. About living in a world without freedom and with only nightmares. In the bleak year of 1984. I thought about increasing central authority and totalitarian rule. Dictatorships and Fascists. I thought about how I felt about all of it. Did I even care anymore? I asked myself what I thought about that question a million times over.
I thought about an answer but it never came up. I thought about journalism and media machines. Corrupt politicians, war profiteers and about heaps of gold covered with blood.
I thought about a lot of things since that day. About 3,000 dead. About tens of thousands more. About fear. About life. About death.
Some things just make you think.
Article written by Andy McMurray a freelance writer and photographer based in DeKalb, Illinois. He has worked at DeKalb’ss Daily Chronicle, The Midweek, and the Northern Illinois University newspaper, the Northern Star. Known variously around the Internet as Dr. Gonzo or IvoShandor, Andy’s wide ranging interests and knowledge in history, architecture, historic preservation, art and science have allowed McMurray to excel in penning both fiction and non-fiction pieces. In addition to pursuing a fiction career Andy has written and photographed extensively for English Wikipedia. http://www.AndyMcMurray.com
Article submitted by Clinton Rushing an Illinois home inspector currently endeavoring in consultation, previous owner of #1 Good Home Inspection Inc. currently operating http://www.1GoodHomeInspection.com as a resource for real estate and home improvement information.
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