Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Lessons of 9/11: What Have We Learned

With the short work week resulting from the Labor Day holiday, you may have yet to realize that this Saturday is the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C., and the plane crash in Pennsylvania.

As Friday is usually our day for something more humorous and less serious, we thought we'd take some time today to focus on what 9/11/2001 was like for the staff of the Daily Felltoon.

We were all in different locations that morning, working or with a day off, going about our normal routines. We were listening to the radio, or contacting clients, checking our e-mail or getting ready to pick up a friend from the airport.

Within minutes of the first plane hitting the first tower of the World Trade Center, every one of us had heard about it, and turned on a nearby TV. We picked up phones, hopped online, and tried to reach out to those we cared about. We had family and friends near the Pentagon, and friends in lower Manhattan too. Some of us are of Arabic decent - as are our families - and we knew there would likely be some not-so-thinly veiled animosity towards them.

For those of us working in the media that day, after checking on those we cared about, we continued working, even stepping up efforts to help inform or comfort our listeners and readers. Some of us spent the rest of the day gathering those we cared about, who were stranded in Washington D.C.

That day, we weren't conservatives or liberals, progressives or centrists. We - and those we worked with at that time - weren't christians, muslims, jews, athiests, or representatives of any other religion. We were then, as we are now, all Americans.

It's sad then, to see that in the nine years since 9/11 some Americans have learned nothing from the events of that day.

We're referring to the intolerant, ignorant, and offensive "preacher" and his misguided flock in Florida, and their announcement this week of their plans to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11. Even though news of their Koran-burning has already stirred up anger against American military troops overseas, they persist in their plans. Even though they've received rebukes for their actions from powerful politicians and religious leaders from across the political spectrum, they still plan to continue. In spite of the fact that Gen. David Petreaus has asked them NOT to hold this event, because it might endanger the lives of American servicemembers, this group and their leader persist with their plans for their misguided, stupid exercise in intolerance.

It's extremely unfortunate that such a small, fearful, out-of-touch group of people can cause this much trouble for so many around the world - nine years after another small misguided group of fanatics caused a much greater amount of trouble.

Two wrongs don't make a right. They didn't then. They don't now, nor will they ever.

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