In the Shadow of Death - Workers peer out under a overhang at Ground Zero AP Photo
Essay- The New Ordinary Day
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the U.S. because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's "no-fly list."
It sounds like a joke, but it's not funny to parents who miss flights while scrambling to have babies' passports and other documents faxed.
Ingrid Sanden's 1-year-old daughter was stopped in Phoenix before boarding a flight home to Washington at Thanksgiving.
"I completely understand the war on terrorism, and I completely understand people wanting to be safe when they fly," Sanden said. "But focusing the target a little bit is probably a better use of resources."
"I don't know about these people, but if they don't want to ajust to our ways, if they preach violence in their mosque,deport them all.
"We have ten million illegal aliens here. We need to close these borders, and deport every blessed one that we find. They are sucking our states dry."
"My Mother and I,we had a nice time at Ellis Island. Very moving. I saw my Poppy's name. Of course I kept thinking about 9/11 with the view of lower Manhattan no longer the same. Security was intense. We had to remove belts, watches, keys, our baseball caps, empty all our pockets, cell phones etc. There were hidden cameras everywhere. I didn't mind the inconvenience but I sure as hell resented why we had to do it in the first place."
"Yeah, I passed the TSA test, missed the physical, though, I have high blood pressure and didn't even know it.You get about five seconds to scan a bag...so many bags per hour... naturally something could be easily missed."
"Take off your shoes"
"Sur, dey rubbah slippahs, mah feet dey bare,"
"Take off your shoes, please"
"Dis floor,is filthy, you wan me walk in mah bare feet in dis?"
"Ma'am, your shoes, please or I have to detain you"
"Alright!, Im 80 years old, flying to Honolulu fo da kine medical tests, gotta be dare. You should show moh respect!"
"Hey Woody, I got a letter from a new pen pal in Lebanon, but its been opened, sealed in a USPS plastic pouch marked. Opened by Homeland Security."
"Hoku, you are in trouble now, next time we fly you"ll be on the "No Fly List""
typical screening at the airport, copyright held by Stock Photo all rights reserved.
The New Ordinary...an ordinary day in any major city in the U.S. includes a whole lot of things that would have never occurred to us four years ago. We stand in more lines, show our ID more, get searched, have our mail opened and our email screened.We are on more cameras more monitors and more "lists"... We go to the Airport with fear and trepidation..."am I on the "no fly" list..." We look at people that look different than we do and ask ourselves, "are they terrorists, going to hijack this airplane?" We are just not so sure that everyone is and everything is OK.
Its been four years, since that fateful day, when out of the bluest skies you have ever seen came the threat that you hadnt considered and the world, our world, your world and mine, was forever changed. We all sit and ponder even now at the evnts surrounding 9-11 and wonder..."will we ever get over this? " Will things ever be "normal" again. I think not... Not in my lifetime, and yet there have been some acts of closure recently.
They completed the last possible DNA check a few months ago and held the last funeral as of today.As our technology grows we may identify a few more of those precious bits of humanity that are still under lock and key waiting for the day.
441 medals were handed out to the families of fallen rescue personnel."The Fallen Hero's of 9/11 Congressional Medal" established by Congress and awarded by President Bush this past week, also signaled a sort of finality to this long grieving process
And grieving there is in abundance. The orphaned infants are ready for school now, younger children, older, sober faced, in the reality of lost parents. There is squablling over the Memorial, did it change again?... And why all of the political nonesense surrounding it? Why make it a peace museum? If nothing else 9-11 wasnot about peace, but about war declared in the scream of jet engines that rendered glass and steel into an inferno, and drove sane men and women to jump to their deaths thousands of feet above the black, blood soaked pavement of Manhattan
But there are still open wounds, and constant reminders of this event and its aftermath, its consequences. There are the "threat levels" color coded, ominous and misunderstood by most. There are the nightly news reports of terrorist acts. The horrors of the July Seven attacks in London, and the resulting coverage of that showed that even the most organized and experienced national police force with regards to terrorism can bungle, as well as succeed in dealing with attacks. Sadly we saw the curtailment of civil liberties, something that we are seeing here in the US as well.
This erosion of feelings of personal security have caused us to perhaps live differently. We look over our shoulders more, we look at people differently, we are less secure. We as a people are less tolerant , less sure and less free by law and custom than we were on September 10, 2001.The terrorists that used four airplanes and took the lives of thousands of people, took something precious from us, our innocence and trusting.
Fallen Heros-Remains being returned for burial. Courtesy of thememoryhole.com
We have doubts about government that we never had before. We believe that the government does everything it can to help us, protect us, guide us and propel us into the future, after 9-11, and over the last four years, I believe that we as a nation are more skeptical, we have less patience, and tolerance for things that look like a lack of governmental performance. The Michael Moore's of this world, The Cindy Sheehan's are quick to point the finger. The controversy seekers, the conspiracy mongers look for reasons to say that somehow the Bush Administration knew about the plot, or that somehow there was someone other than Osama ben Laden and his gang of 20 that was responsible. And as the death toll rises in the conflict in Iraq nearly 2000, there is more questioning regarding the conflict and the "War On Terror". This writer believes what she reads from Iraqis on the ground and they are grateful and its worth the cost to continue the struggle.
And yet we must understand that on that day, perhaps as no other, the hearts of Americans were cracked open, and propped open. And they are still open today.
This dichotomy, this love and loathing, fear and forgiving, desire to trust and believe in "the system", and hard core cynicism has had its greatest test since 9-11 this past two weeks in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. What we have seen is a totally inadequate response to a known threat by government at all levels. There was time to prepare, buses to get people out, and agencies standing by to help and the government did so little that its nearly as though a cruel joke and a sad story is being played out night after night on nation wide TV. I thank God for what has been done. The first responders, the people on the ground, the medical people that stayed behind and of course our military have been magnificent. But I, we all have to wonder if the terrorists are laughing at the bumbling, sloppy and perhaps knowingly inadequate response to this disaster. I think this will be the event of the decade, and a deciding moment in our history. How we handle these "refugees", this southern Diaspora, will show the world how open our hearts really are. This is going to be the greatest forced migration of Americans since the Dust Bowl disaster of the 1920's and 30's, the task is enormous and before us is the question...This was a known natural disaster, what would happen in this country with a Federal Emergency Management Agency, that is nothing more than window dressing and a insurance agency. In the face of terrorist threats, bandits and thugs armed with nukes, and biological agents, I shudder to think of how things will turn out, if there isn't change from within the deepest levels of government.
The government needs to get a grip, and quit with the blame game and territorial crap, cut red tape and get organized. There will be another day of hell like what happened in this hurricane, and we need to be prepared.
Patriotic Feeling Autumn Bandstand in Belleville Ohio
The signs of trauma are gone, but we are forever changed. We all carry within us the memories and feelings of those moments we experienced on that September day, and to paraphrase the words of Peggy Noonan in her book, "A Cross, A Heart, and the Flag," who expressed the feelings that many of us shared. She comments that these are the things that America found. I too see this. America found her faith as though it was a lost dream, perhaps to the point that it has divided us politically as in no time in our history. She found her heart, a heart that was, as some believed had become, hard and cynical. That heart was broken, blood wrested from the stone, and the world saw how, "We The People" resolve to help each other regardless of the personal cost.And we found our flag. We found our patriotism and embraced it as perhaps we have not embraced it since World War Two. We are not ashamed to be called Americans. And as the world becomes more and more decidedly "anti American" that pride has a price tag that will grow and grow as time goes on. May we never forget the price that was paid by those gone before us, and may we be ready ourselves, to pay that ultimate price ourselves. For it has never been cheap to call ourselves "American", but the price is worth it to call The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave" our home.
May God Bless You and God Bless America!
Colors over the Silent Dead-Cemetary under a stormy sky in Nashville Ohio