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NASA Remembers September 11

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  • Elders (Moderators)

I've just finished watching a series of 48 lectures titled "Turning Points in American History". A few of the topics were specific to the USA, but most were either about issues common to many countries on the historical journey to democracy or were issues that were and are global, such as technology, environmentalism, civil/human rights, racial/religious toleration, and so on. The very last lecture was on the 9/11 attacks. And that was global in its effect.

I'm not sure how much the average person in the USA realise how the world stopped that day for people beyond their borders. For instance, I'm pretty sure that most people in the UK above the age of 15 can remember when they heard; and I think that would be the same for very many other countries around the world.

There was an outpouring of sympathy globally but especially here in the UK because we also have experienced enemy attacks. But this was the first time that the USA had been attacked this way from outside. I recall seeing or reading about a young woman asking, "Why do they hate us?" and I just wanted to comfort her and say that they don't hate you. It's mostly about politics (with a small "p") - and it's very difficult to disentangle legitimate issues from extreme activism (mostly because the latter usually, and cowardly, hide behind the former).

Many countries in the past have had to deal with consequences of being powerful: Britain, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, and so on.

But it was a horrible time for the USA to realise that as a country that had a history of welcoming all: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free", and had provided to the world the most powerful statement of what it is to be a person: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [...] are created equal, that they are endowed [...] with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", yet had to endure the shock and horror of seeing such iconic buildings falling to the ground. And for what? The extremists who plotted and funded the attacks have achieved nothing. I guess it's a learning curve, but extremists have a long way to go.

Anyway, just my thoughts on this very sad anniversary.

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