There is another side to the memories of 9/11 beyond the flag waving you saw on Sunday. The other side is the memory of how the intelligence organizations of the government failed miserably to prevent the attacks. Back in 2001 the United States was still proclaiming itself as being the greatest country in the world in many ways. That self appointed title did not save the lives of some 3,000 people killed by terrorists that infamous day.
9/11 was not an attack by a sovereign nation. It was an attack by a well organized group of people who had a goal and worked hard to carry it out. It did not matter how many weapons the United States military had on 9/11. The attack proved that history can be impacted by only a relatively few people. Who needs nuclear weapons when you can fly planes into buildings and inflict death and mayhem upon a nation?
On 9/11 I lost further trust in the United States government to protect me. As a black man in this country I already knew that the police were not my protector. I already knew the criminal justice system was not built to protect my rights. On 9/11 it became clear on a global spectrum that the government didn't have the ability to ensure I was safe from terrorist attacks.
After 9/11 public hearings were held and the customary report written. The question, "How could this have happened?" was mechanically answered. It was bound to happen. A sometimes arrogant nation was brought to the reality of the new world. No one is afraid of the United States. The aura of it being the "greatest" country in the world is fading. The Presidential campaign and the police action shootings of black men over the past few years has highlighted that America has forgotten where it came from.
The flag waving, standing at strict attention as the national anthem plays, patriots of the United States do not know or they choose to ignore the history of the United States. This is the United States that supported the forced takeover of land inhabited by Native Americans so that Europeans could build a life for themselves. This is the United States whose government supported the enslavement of human beings to perform work for and to take care of the privileged. The same United States whom you think can protect you from terrorists. Maybe that is why many continue to purchase assault rifles and other forms of self defense warfare? Or is it that you truly know that when chaos occurs you will be on your own for awhile?
9/11 was a tragic day for numerous families. It wasn't just an American tragedy. It was a tragedy displaying how far we as human beings need to go to overcome the negative aspects of our humanity.