Ten years ago, the world changed. 9/11 is the most significant event of my generation. With any luck, it will be the last of it’s kind. But I doubt it. There has always been terror, and there have always been those who wield it. Some, like myself and other writers, wield terror creatively, not to impose fear, but to face them. In facing our fears, we find out who we are. By looking into the shadows, we expose our personalities to the brightest lights.
The best horror has always been a reflection of society’s fears. Vampires and werewolves were born out of superstition. Other monsters, such as Frankenstein and Godzilla, were born out of science and nuclear war. These days, we have no need of superstition, nor monsters. Our fears lie waiting behind much more familiar doors.
Our greatest threat is human. Humans are capable of far more destruction than any monster. As we found ten years ago, our monsters may be anywhere and strike at any time. We live in a world where a simple search on your computer may find pedophiles next door. Mothers and fathers kill their children. We are connected by the anonymous thread of the internet, never knowing who is on the other side. Yet, we post everything about ourselves and our loved ones for all to see. Meanwhile, there are those out there who would use that information to harm our children.
This is the world we live in, an age of enlightenment. We know the capabilities of humankind, both good and bad. 9/11 was a reflection of that knowledge.
You may have seen the terrorists, at the airport, in their cars, out and about before the attacks. They weren’t hiding in caves. They were living among us. They committed a horrible act that most of us could have never imagined would take place in the United States. Two structures synonymous with our success toppled in a matter of minutes. The horrified and hopeless jumped to their deaths. Almost three thousand people died on that day.
But then, the most amazing thing happened. People ran in to the collapsing buildings trying to save others. Others dug through the wreckage looking for survivors. A group of passengers on a hijacked plane said, “Let’s roll.” and showed the terrorists real strength. We came together as a nation, paid our respects, and healed.
We will never forget. We saw our greatest fears come to life, but that isn’t what will be remembered. We will remember the great strength shown in its wake. Today, we remember the heroes of 9/11, those who died and those who lived. We remember the day we were thrust into the darkness and found our greatest light. We remember where we were, how we felt, and how it changed everything.
Ten years ago, I was a journalism student, waking up to a phone call from my best friend. He said, “Dude, we are under attack.” I will remember that phone call for the rest of my life. I will remember the heroic acts of those who refused to give in to fear. I will remember their affect on me. I will never forget. I doubt you will, either.
Our fears make us human. Our ability to overcome them makes us special. God bless the heroes who that showed us that.