I was 15 on September 11th 2001, at home in Central, Florida when the towers came down. I did not eye witness it, but word got way to my folks, who, promptly got the TV on and turned it to the local news. I remember seeing the footage, I remember a strange, surreal disconnect all day, that what I was watching wasn’t reality, that it was some sort of farce, but no, it was tragically real, and a most frightening moment in US history.
This moment would lead to a war in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, a turbulent passage of a new Bush administration, as well as for America on the whole.
It would span three more Presidents.
Regarding this passage, and the long presence our country maintained overseas with allies, two decades, I realize that my formative teen years, raucous 20s, and half of my now stabilized 30s have been spent with the Middle East and Afghanistan as an ever present, continuous geopolitical, and military dialogue. August 15th, however disastrous or successful it is perceived to be, seems to bring this long narrative to an end.
Kabul has fallen back into familiar hands.
The adage of ‘Nothing lasts forever’ while tired fits here perfectly; life, along with all the matter associated with it, falls to an inexorable quietus. For time is a relentless warrior, and eternity is a blade that never dulls.
The backdrop of my generation, akin to the Baby Boomer and Generation X’s Cold War mise en scene, has been the war against terror. And while I am obliged to let it go, I must not ever forget it. Not that I really can. The ugliest thing to say is that I feel like I have lost something that belonged me, something constant that I got use to being there, and its absence is somehow disconcerting.
The caustic thing to say is that something painful and costly has finally passed. The bravest thing to say is that tomorrow still holds hope and promise regardless of the circumstances that may surround it.
The only thing we really ought to say though is ‘Thank you for serving, and welcome home.’
Remember 9/11, see you all back here soon.