CIC 9/11 Update (September 11, 2021)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator



We don't usually write a news post about 9/11. Many others are doing actual September 11 memorials. But if we have a tiny relevant Wing Commander anecdote to share in the context of history, we're happy to do that. Just like with Oscar Mayer tweeting about the Wienermobile this weekend, there's a small amount of calm reassurance that comes along with everyone just doing what they're here to do. Our intent is never to exploit current events by finding how Wing Commander ties in to these things, but hopefully folks can appreciate the mission we're on. LOAF recalls this:

A bit of 9/11 trivia: [the evening of September 11th] had been scheduled to be the USA Network premiere of the Wing Commander movie with a rerun the next day. Instead USA rebroadcast news both days. Wing Commander finally aired a month later on October 14th.

One thing I've seen more this year is a complaint that people are "forgetting" about 9/11. At least here, tributes are everywhere, so I'm not sure how that could be. What could people forget? The date? Where it happened? I will note that, demographically, a quarter of the population here wasn't even born yet in 2001, and another 15% were too young to retain the complex symbolism of the day. By the 25th anniversary, the majority of the US population will be too young to have first hand memories.

In any case, I think when we said "never forget" twenty years ago, the thing we were talking about never forgetting was the sense of purposeful unity to work together to assault a threat and ensure safety for all. Ironically, I find the loudest voices pleading with everyone to remember happen to be the folks who aren't doing their part to safeguard the most vulnerable among us today. The world currently suffers a 9/11 size tragedy roughly every eight hours due to the coronavirus. The biggest thing people can do right now to embody the heroic spirit of 9/11 is to wear a mask in crowds and get your vaccine when eligible. Thank you to everyone out there doing their part to protect their families and mine. Stay safe.

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Original update published on September 11, 2021
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
Wasn't planning on responding to this, but even as a non-American I found myself reflecting, however briefly, on 11th September (which was yesterday for me).

While I absolutely agree every life is precious to at least someone, in purely numerical terms the deaths from those attacks - and I suppose we can be thankful for this - wasn't huge. It can be hard - at least for me - to relate to something that happens outside my immediate circles, and then there's old saying (regardless of who really said it originally), 'a death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic'. (I'm not in any way trying to diminish the significance of the lives lost.)

Nonetheless, what I recall about the impact of the attacks - aside from the sheer audacity of commandeering passenger jets and using them as missiles to demolish major landmarks and damage military headquarters - was that it wasn't just an attack against the United States, but that by extension it was a blow to the prestige and prideful self-determination of Western culture and civilisation. The shift in American foreign policy and military action also had a major impact on global affairs in the subsequent decades and we're still seeing the effects of that even today.

If anything good can come from such tragedy, it was that it woke many of us to the fragility of life and our standing in the world - with Australia's close military and cultural ties to the US, I think we collectively felt the effects of the attacks to a substantial degree as what an American would have. Certainly there were Australian eyewitnesses in NYC, as well as victims. What we can establish and make for ourselves - as impressive as that can be at times - amount to nothing from an eternal perspective, and that realisation can be startling and humbling to some.

Reflecting on how many of today's youth would not be familiar with these events (oof, if there's anything to make one feel old...) I'm also reminded of reports of how many American children could not grasp the significance of the assassination of bin Laden in 2011. For my own experience, I remember as a young lad growing up in London, my family were planning to visit the Telecom (now BT) Tower but didn't realise it was closed off to the public for security reasons. I also had no recollection of the IRA and their actions in Britain, at least until I was old enough to understand such concepts as bombings and terrorism, by which time I had already resettled in Australia.

If anything, the ongoing pandemic could be the current generation's 'unforgettable' moment in their lifetime. It's certainly something that's affected the entire world, not just a particular country or cultural domain. I think students here have perhaps undue pressure and expectation set upon their performance in their final high school examinations - I personally didn't place as much significance on them as some do, but I can appreciate how lacking face-to-face learning can feel like a serious impediment to one's aspirations in life, and the stress that places on undertaking what seems like a pivotal, life-changing set of examinations.

Back to the events of 11th September, the one time I visited NYC I also visited the memorial at the base of where the towers used to be (the new tower to replace them was nearing completion but not yet fully complete at the time). It was staggering to think that there used to be massive buildings where those pools are now. Even if children don't fully comprehend the events from 20 years ago, they will eventually come to realise why certain things are done the way they are (with regards to security, etc) originated from that fateful day.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I just couldn't bring myself to be very introspective this year; I'm feeling my age and I'm just so exhausted with everything, which is how I suspect a lot of us feel right now. I think Pancho and Lefty sums up my feelings on 9/11 at twenty pretty well:

Pancho needs your prayers it's true
But save a few for Lefty too
He only did what he had to do
And now he's growing old
 

Worf

Vice Admiral
It's hard to be introspective given all that's happened these past few years. I'm not an American, but I still remember the day. And yes, it makes me feel old to think that 9/11 happened 20 years ago and I was a young'un just starting my first Real Job(tm).

While I don't wish a 9/11 to happen ever again, I do wish we'd bring back the unity that was present where everyone put down their differences and actually got together as one.
 
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