View From Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea hotel
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Remembering September 11, 2001 — 22 Years Later.

Have we progressed at all since the United States of America was attacked?

Less than a month after The Gate was launched, I posted an article on Sunday, September 10, 2006 pertaining to my experience regarding the day of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, which I have basically repeated each year since — with some tweaks and edits along the way — but this year of remembering September 11, 2001 22 years later is different than in years past.

Remembering September 11, 2001 — 22 Years Later.

September 11 2001 memorial
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The only thing that comes to my mind is: what in the world has happened to the United States?

That camaraderie and togetherness of the country which was supposedly felt in the months after those horrendous events simply faded. It represented strength — even if it was only an illusion. Now the United States is drowning in unproductive minutia, conspiracy theories, and sensationalistic senseless drama that has overtaken politics, business, the economy, health care, and — ironically — entertainment. What exactly is the purpose of the state of this nation recently?

In many cases, September 11 has become little more than a remembrance replete with hollow tributes and empty memorials. Fortunately, companies have not offered useless sale prices on merchandise and services in “honor” of September 11…

…yet, anyway.

The amount of blatant disrespect in the ways people treat each other has been rather abominable in general in recent years. I am not even sure that the repeat of a similar attack — which hopefully will never happen — will truly unite the people of the United States, who are divided more than ever along lines of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, ancestry, occupation, sexual orientation, marital status, gender identity, national origin, family status, gender expression, disability, economic class, financial status, and other diverse backgrounds. All of this “wokeness” and “diversity inclusion” publicity and training at corporations and universities is simply not working overall — and is likely worsening things.

Final Boarding Call

View From Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea hotel
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Fast forward 22 years to 2023: some people are increasingly attempting to convert the United States to a socialist country; while others still seem to be willing to pay to forfeit their liberties and rights in exchange for some modicum of security — even if that security is unproven and questionable — all of which would have been unthinkable in pre-September 11 2001 America.

Have we not learned anything?!?

The anniversary of this tragic day should be used as an inspiration to consider thinking of how we can anonymously give of ourselves to help fellow human beings — and perhaps save lives in the process — even if the gesture may seem small and insignificant. A simple smile; a complimentary compliment; or saying thank you to another person could brighten his or her day as a start to improve our society overall. Positive change starts with us.

No matter where we live or travel — no matter who we are — we cannot be afraid. We must work towards ensuring that this fragile planet on which we all live is as safe, free, and enjoyable for as many people as possible; and we must stand tall and face down the sources of terrorism — no matter how frightening doing so may feel.

In addition to stopping for a moment to reflect on what happened 22 years ago today, we need to count our blessings and be fortunate that the United States is at least still some vestige of what its founding fathers envisioned. What we need more than ever is to respect each other, work together with each other, and help each other to strengthen this country to hold the ideals that helped it to form as a great nation in the first place. We need to resolve — or, at least, mitigate our differences to conquer issues that have been plaguing us for years. Having tough — yet civil — discussions is a good start. Real progress needs to return to this country. We cannot lose the determination and values from which the United States was formed as a nation, for if that happens, they are in real danger of being lost forever and never being recovered.

Only then will we pay September 11 a fitting — albeit solemn — tribute to remember what had happened 22 years ago today: by continuing to be a strong and productive country which cares about humanity worldwide.

All photographs ©2015 and ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

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