Sunday, September 10, 2006

On My Mind: 9/11

9/11 is Personal For Our Family
In the last few weeks I keep thinking about 9/11 and how it affected my life. I think the fact that this is the five year anniversary has me thinking about what happened to us that day and it is replaying over and over in my mind, more so than it did last year or in 2004.

I think for the first time I will write up my experiences of that day and how our family experienced it. Our experience that day was very personal and it was very close to home as my husband was to be in the World Trade Center at that exact moment in time. I will then post it on my blog, if anyone cares to read it, they can.

Of course on a larger scale, terrorism threats and the situation in our world today also bothers me greatly, to such an extent that I will admit to trying to stick my head in the sand out of self-preservation. I feel so frustrated by the terrorism, and so disempowered that it is almost maddening, so it is easier and better for me to try to pretend that I am ignorant about it. (My husband follows this closely, so I guess I defer to him to be the one in the family who is very informed. We talk about it, nearly daily, with me asking what is new in the news. He also reads books about Middle East issues and terrorism and U.S. Government, and he tells me what each book’s spiel and bias was.) I know we have serious problems but I am trying to pretend we don’t. My energies are needed elsewhere: taking care of myself and my children, homeschooling them, etc. I can’t take on all of the problems of the world, I can’t solve them, and thinking about them all the time would only make me a basket-case.

I also am resentful that my upbringing and public education taught me nothing about the history of the Middle East or of the current events. I feel unprepared to fully understand the issues. For example I never learned why at one point the Middle East was so powerful in the world yet why that stopped, and why they are living in third world conditions. I don’t know much about the Muslim religion. I don’t know enough to know the difference between the fundamentalists and the jihadists vs. the ‘other Muslims”.

On the subject of public school and religion I am told by other parents that American schools now teach children about religions but not about Christianity. It is assumed that the student is Christian and knows certain basic, important things about Christianity already, and the other religions are portrayed as ‘world religions’. I resent this because it is snobbish, in my opinion. Students who are not Christian (who are practicing what the teachers consider a ‘world religion’) are then deemed outsiders. Also American-born non-religion-practicing students are left out of the loop. Children such as me who were raised with zero religion don’t then learn the basic Christian foundation that some people apparently feel that students already know. The Pagans will tell you that they are completely left out of the loop, with some not even realizing it is real, or some thinking that certain things are “make believe” or Halloween fun-related. I find it interesting that some teachers can think that teaching about Christianity in public school is mixing the state and religion, but teaching about a ‘world religion’ is not mixing the state and religion. In order to understand all people, all religions must be taught in some manner, so that intelligent dialogue can take place to compare and contrast different views, and to also understand many historical events. For example someone told me the reason that there are huge gaps in world history in American public schools is that they are not allowed to teach the Reformation period as it is too religious.

Back To My Family and 9/11
Additionally we feel some impact today. Specifically, we feel that SEC regulation changes in my husband’s industry in reaction to 9/11 to try to prevent any possible future negative impact on the investment industry when/if a future attack on a certain city occurs, has changed his industry, limiting jobs in central locations. Specifically, the regulations require that offices be spread out over large geographic regions, with satellite offices being certain distances away from each other. Also there are limits and schedules about who can be in the office on any given day, with employees required to commute to other satellite offices or telecommute on certain days, just in case an office building is bombed and all the people in it die, that other employees will be away and still alive to carry on business.

Frankly I think that most people rarely think about it. Sadly and scary as it may be, I think that a good number of people don’t realize the threat of terrorism that I feel is still alive and well today. For many Americans, life is back to normal and apathy reins.

I partly blame the media for American citizen’s apathy, who largely keep the news reporting brief or focused on completely stupid reports. For example my friend told me the other day that Katie Couric actually had her colonoscopy procedure televised---the grossest and most disempowering procedure I can imagine was televised for the world to see. Why? Who wants to see it? I don’t think anyone wants to see that. What respect I did have for Couric as a professional is now gone. It is one thing to watch a medical show that shows procedures, but it is entirely different for us to watch a newscaster go through a procedure. I would love to know what she and her network were thinking. Reality shows are what they are: they are real people who the shows try to portray as doing real things (in reality they are very edited and some of it is staged or provoked by the Producers—I know as I was in my friend’s episode of “A Baby Story”). Let the reality shows show regular people and let newscasters be talking mouthpieces for news shows. The two things are entirely different. And one more think, my friend also told me that Couric went on and on about Tom Cruise’s new baby yet she did no reporting on a big terrorist development in Denmark. The problem here is that American news is largely dumbed down. Americans are used to being spoon fed information, it is like a habit. Many people don’t compare or contrast the information they hear. Some or many believe everything they hear. So when the media dumbs down the news reporting it dumbs down America.

The behavior of automatically believing everything we hear is something I think is taught and learned in American public schools but that could be another whole discussion, so I’ll hold my tongue on having a big rant about that for now. I don’t mean that schools teach kids to be that way so they can be brainwashed by the media but I mean that we learn it in school and that behavior stays with most people for a long time, with negative ramifications.

So anyway, 9/11 is never far from my mind. I am glad that on this 5th anniversary it seems to be on everyone’s mind.

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Shawna said...

What you have been told can and is or is not taught in public schools regarding religion or history is very inaccurate and/or biased and/or exaggerated.

Having taught in them I know the fine line and I also know many of the teachers themselves are usually Christian--merely raised as such if not faithfully practicing.

Complete periods of history not being taught is not anything I have ever witnessed or seen and I still have three kids in public high school--but I do know that periods of history are condensed to make way for new, emerging histories--if that makes any sense.

Off to read the rest of the post :-)

Shawna said...

Well......we are at opposite ends of the spectrum on this one LOL I think 9/11 was a tragedy...and your post is the 1st I have read about the newer procedures mentioned in regards to your husband's line of work and I think that is good planning--even if a bid morbid having to think about it and plan for it.

However, giving constant news coverage to terrorism gives terrorist exactly what they want--notoriety and keeps people in constant fear! I don't want to give them that power. I do not want to hear any more about the terrorist unless I truly NEED to hear about it.

As for Katie--after having witnessed a human being physically wither away and die before my eyes because of cancer, literally die in front of me as he reached his arms out to heaven completely unable to comprehend or speak or see. Anything another human being is willing to do to make others aware of how easy it is to be screened and checked is doing a serve--yes, a colonoscopy seems grotesque because it deals with a part of our body that we associate with nastiness, but the procedure saves lives and is a procedure that so many men are afraid of because of wear it takes place on the body. If Katie was able to convince just a handful of individuals to be screened....the agony she saved them and their loved ones is beyond worth it.

Today is 9/11 and I remember it by celebrating my baby sister's birthday. I will not hold a negative anniversary in my heart; not for 9/11, not for D-Day, not for any other day that Americans have been attacked on American soil--and we have been attacked on American soil before 9/11.

But I will pray that your fears and your upset can eventually be calmed...because such fear and upset is not what is intended for your life have too many great things to offer the world!

USpace said...

Great post, well done, lots here.

past mistake -
accepting terrorism
like hurricanes

we will NEVER forget
you 9/11 victims
will get justice