That’s how long it took for justice to be served. Osama Bin Laden forever changed our world that fateful fall day, and almost 10 years later we are able to close this chapter in our lives.
In a somewhat surreal twist, I am writing this while sitting on board a flight to the west coast. My entire professional travel career has been in a post 9/11 world, and every time I had to go through the security checkpoint dance, I would remember where it all began. Every time I would look at the view of downtown Manhattan from my apartment and notice that huge void in the skyline, I would remember what it was like to work at the World Trade Center – the sweet view of the East River bridges I had from my desk, the massive bank of escalators I would go up every morning, the sea of humanity I would find myself getting intimate with every day at rush hour.
I couldn’t bring myself to celebrate like the people who gathered outside the White House or at Ground Zero. The moment felt far too solemn, my emotions far too raw and my thoughts were with those who lost loved ones on 9/11. I wonder if closure is even possible when the wound is this deep. And the (intellectual) part of me that believes in MLK and Gandhi wonders why I am experiencing such visceral satisfaction in the news of a kill.
This is not a joyous victory. The path was too long, at too high a cost, with way too many mistakes along the way. When I am finally able to make my way back to Manhattan, I would like to go back to the Sphere, an under-appreciated, ignored, powerful memorial thats stands battered but tall in Battery Park, and reflect. I am one of the lucky ones to not have lost anyone on that horrific day, as everyone from Thor made it out alive. But the events of that day reshaped my life in so many different ways, altering the entire course of my life. As the destruction of that day threatened to consume Thor, a number of us dug in deeper, resolved not to let the bastard win. I know that’s not how we were necessarily thinking at the time, but I’m sure it was a subliminal driver that made us rise above our situation. And who knows where things would have ended up if not for that sense of purpose, of camaraderie, of resolve in the face of what seemed like a lost cause. I certainly know I would not have ended up where I am today. I will always carry that day with me, the good and the bad, till the day I die.
I have now lived most of my adult life in a post 9/11 world. Today, it brings tears to my eyes to realize that my son will live in a post Osama Bin Laden world. I know that terrorism isn’t going away any time soon, but there is a certain measure of comfort in that. And for that, I am grateful.
It is a good day to be an American. Thank you to the men and women in uniform, who protect our freedoms and our lives. Thank you to first responders and service men and women who risk their lives to save us. And thank you to all those that continue to fight against the prejudice and intolerance that fuels animals like Al Qaeda. We’ve finally gotten rid of the man that stood for all that was evil. Now we have to change the hearts and minds of people the world over and make this world a better place for our children.
It is a good day to be an American.Tags: 9/11, Downtown Manhattan, Iraq, Living in New York, New York City, Osama Bin Laden, President Obama