This started out as a comment to tyrsalvia‘s post, but it sort of grew into its own post. Just too much to say in a comment. Again, those of you tired of hearing about it, just skip; I’ll put it in a cut.
She mentioned the loss of American innocence. I suppose that’s what makes me the saddest as well. There was always something incredibly, warmly and wonderfully reassuring about being in a place where people didn’t think about international politics, had never really thought about terror, and could be entirely naive in these things. I’m not trying to be facetious; when things were hard back home, it’s hard to explain how reassuring it was to see people who didn’t have to worry about it.
Every Thanksgiving was always a big deal with my family; we’d have a big feast and have everyone over, and the thing we were really thankful for was a chance to live our lives somewhere very far away from all the struggles and pointless blood feuds of the Old World.
It’s very different now. Fortunately it’s not as bad, hopefully it never will be… but I see people now starting to think about things in a certain different way. When people fly they now think of it in terms of security, not travel. And people are starting to keep track of strange tribes in the hills of Central Asia with an eye towards whether they’re trying to kill us.
So this year at Thanksgiving, the things I’m going to be thankful for are the years of peace we had to stop and regain our strength, the prosperity we still have with which to build our resources, and — still, even after all the crap of the past few years — the belief that the system we created in America is something truly exceptional, one of the most extraordinary pieces of political thought in human history, and that if this makes it into history for other people to remember and try to imitate, then we’ve succeeded at something important.
And 9/11 itself? Not much. It’s an anniversary, but I never put much stock in ’em. It may be as good a day as any to take a status check, but so was yesterday.
*sigh* OK, no more safe havens; there are things to be done in this world, and we need to be moving.