Ghosts Of Ground Zero

Seven years ago today, my day started in a most unusual manner.

I was woken up by a frantic phone call from my roommate, who was at work.  She urged me to turn on the TV, which I did.

While I was sleeping, the whole world had changed.

After working at my friend’s comic-book shop while he went to go give blood, I came home and spent the evening standing outside smoking with a visiting friend, watching F-16s fly over the house and wondering, apprehensively, what was going to happen next.

I didn’t know that two wars would come out of that day, one just and one unjust.

I didn’t know that freedoms would be curtailed, our government would start domestic spying operations, torture would become the rule of the day for prisoners of the “War On Terror,” and sleazy, crooked politicians would glide into and keep undeserved offices by doing little more than playing on our fears and labeling anyone that disagreed with them as unpatriotic.

In short, I did not know how much that day would change this country, and not for the better.

That day, we were told that the terrorists who had committed such heinous acts had done so with the intention of ruining America; of crushing our freedoms, reducing our international standing in the world, hurting our economy.

Seven years later, all of those things have happened.

But not by their hands.

Instead, our current sorry state of affairs was brought about by politicians willing to exploit the tragedies of that day for their own gain, be it political, monetary, or simply just ego.  That date became a mantra for politicians with nothing else of substance to say, and they rode the words right into Congress and used them to keep control of our government.

The words “we will never forget” were bandied about very much in the days and months after the attack.  We have not by any means forgotten the dead, but we have forgotten the lessons that should have been learned from that day and kept a tight grip on the terror, on the fear we felt, and somehow forgot to be wary of those who, on that very day, were already plotting ways to exploit that fear and use it for their own destructive purposes.

250,000 Iraqi civilians are dead and many more wounded in retaliation for an act perpetrated by absolutely none of their countrymen.  Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 hijackers originated, goes completely untouched, and Osama bin Laden is sitting in a cave somewhere and laughing at how our own elected officials did far more damage to this country than he could have with a hundred hijackers.

I used to write poems about America; about the American Dream and the American people.  I stopped after that day.  America had already begun to transform into something unrecognizable to people like me, who loved the American Dream and believed in it whole-heartedly.

That day, I didn’t know that I would stop writing those poems.  I didn’t know America would change so much, that the Dream would be so shattered. . .nor that the ultimate destruction would come from within, not from without.

Seven years ago, I had absolutely no idea that I’d be sitting here today wondering how the ghosts of Ground Zero feel about us now.  Do they feel they were righteously avenged?  Do they feel their deaths served no better purpose than advancing the agendas of the corrupt, the power-hungry, the money-greedy, the weak and cowardly?  Are they proud of us?

I don’t know.  I only know that I feel that we have not done right by them.

And I hope the ghosts of Ground Zero will forgive us.

VS – 09.11.08


One Response to “Ghosts Of Ground Zero”

  1. I don’t think they will.

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