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Where’s the Line?

In every of just about every other person on the Internet who’s posting something about September 11th, 2001, I’ll do the same. It’s not about fear of forgetting – who could forget such a thing? It’s about honoring those who are gone and those who remain. And in respect of those who remain who were touched by what happened, it’s also about being ever vigilant.

Here’s another question that some may not know. Why should December 7th be an important date? The answer – Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy as they entered into World War II. Unfortunately, not many of us today realize that date or the significance.

Am I here to bitch or complain? No! I don’t intend to make anybody feel bad either, especially on a day that is already so filled with emotion and memories. I was in between jobs (read: being a bum playing computer games after a morning search of job message boards and websites) when I heard about it. I can’t remember if I contacted my girlfriend or if she contacted me, but it was within moments of the first tower strike. Then I witnessed the second one on the news happen live.

I remember being speechless and stunned. Seeing the smoke and flames was one thing, but seeing it actually happen? That took my breath away. It left me angry and upset. With my rekindled patriotism and the memory of an oath I’d taken when I entered the military, I tried to reenlist. I say tried because they turned me away, citing a bunch of reason that boiled down to the recruiter being too busy and having enough easy pickings amongst all the other people lining up that he didn’t want to do the extra paperwork necessary to get me back in.

But that was me and that was then. If I asked my kids, ages 7 and 4, what was special about today they’d look at me funny and maybe remember something I said or something said at school. They don’t know what happened over a decade ago, just like most of us today don’t really know what happened 72 years ago.

Aside from the media coverage what is the difference between the two events? Both were orchestrated by a group of people willing to sacrifice their own lives for their mission. Both were radically different cultures from our own. Both believed they were doing the right thing. History is written by the victors and on those two days America was not victorious. We rallied in both cases and after considerable time and expense we have been, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. It was a pyrrhic victory at best, because there is no undoing the hurt that was caused.

Our only recourse, as a nation, is to remain ever vigilant. We piss and moan about the infringements on our freedom caused by such vigilance, but how many similar incidents have been thwarted since then by copycat groups or other people with different agendas? We give the president grief over his involvement in the affairs of other nations, but what if a controlled strike against Syria prevented a future attack that caught the US unaware?

Syria has chemical weapons capable of considerable damage. There are other weapons far more devastating out there. Biological agents, for example. It’s scary and it makes me question where the line is drawn. At what point is it okay to interfere with another nation or culture? Does it depend on how big and / or dangerous they are? If Russia or China were to use such things would we do more than talk sternly to them or invoke trade embargoes? I doubt it. We lose our playground bully status when dealing with nations of comparable strength.

I don’t have an answer, just an appreciation for the fact that I’m not in charge for trying to figure out where that line is at. And a never ending desire to remain vigilant and to do what we must to protect ourselves from all threats, domestic and foreign.

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.


  1. paul1510
    September 11, 2013 at 17:35

    you are talking sense, when I saw the news reports about 9/11, my first thought was that it was a movie trailer.
    And by the way, I remember Pearl Harbour, for me it’s not history.
    Isn’t it time we all stop behaving like evil children and grew up, none of us are guiltless.

  2. September 11, 2013 at 18:46

    I wondered about that. Well, not you specifically. I considered putting something in about my father being five or six years old when Pearl Harbor happened. I’ve never asked him about it, shame on me. Now I’ll have to do that the next time I see him.

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