Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Remembering September 11th Six Years Later

This week a friend inspired me to finally utilize this space that I have had for so long now. Holding true to the theme of my blog "Generation Now", I thought I would start by sharing what I wrote on September 11 of this year. It is important for my generation to start living up to our education, knowledge and privledge as Americans and start changing the world and ourselves one step at a time.

Six years ago this morning, America lost its innocence once again; at least it did for me. I was not quite 21-years-old; I was in college and did not think much about journalism, the evening news, politics or the happenings in foreign nations. I was a kid. Two minutes after I awoke that morning the first plane hit, by the time it made it to my local morning news no one knew what had happened and the hole in the building could not be seen through the sea of smoke. As my parents and I watched smoldering south tower of the World Trade Center via TV in the comfort of our home thousands of miles away in Arizona; the second plane hit and we knew our country was under attack.

I remember clearly my thoughts on that morning and the tears I shed. I thought about all of the lives that were lost and the families that would be broken. I listened to NPR on my drive to my morning classes and heard the reports of people jumping from the buildings and then the crash into the Pentagon. I thought that the world had gone mad and that any moment world war three would break out. I sat in my car once I arrived on campus and continued to listen as they reported the south tower collapsing. Unable to listen to anymore I composed myself and my thoughts and went to Spanish lab. Much to my surprise no one knew about what was occurring.

I ditched my history class and went grocery shopping. I became one of those paranoid Americans; I filled my car with gas, bought powdered milk, gallons of water, pet food for a month and withdrew my ATM limit of $300 for the day. Then I sat for the next 18 hours glued to my TV in silent prayer that I would wake up from this nightmare.

Like so many Americans on that day I rallied with my neighbors, my friends, my family, my peers and co-workers and became angry that such a thing could happen on US soil. Looking back now as a more educated and media savvy individual I am shocked that it took as long as it did for something as enormous as this to occur in America. For far too long we looked at ourselves as immortal.

I have theories about 9/11 just as I have theories about our government and our leaders and have ideals both popular and unpopular. Regardless of my beliefs, I am proud to be a part of this country. Many times I may complain about the lack of social and economic equality, but I never fear that my government will cut my tongue out. Many times I will complain about the glass ceiling for women in the work place and the difference in pay that still holds true to this day, but I never have to fear my country taking away my ability to work. In this country I have the right to complain about, make fun of and pray for my leaders, without have to worry that my government will send me to jail for treason.

I am grateful to be a part of a society that for at least a short time, held together and worked together as a nation to rebuild our collective confidence and strength. I truly wish that we could remember how we were feeling then and take it with us to the office, into traffic, to the grocery store and into the world. I truly wish that we could start paying it forward, each and every one of us, and continue working to build a nation that we are proud of and not one that we want to flee.

Since this Sunday I have been in the realm of remembrance of this evil date. I watched stories on the History Channel, "Flight 93" and for the first time I saw "World Trade Center." Upon viewing these I silently sat thanking and praying for those who so selflessly rushed into the towers to try to save whom ever they could, the individuals who took charge on Flight 93 even though it was too late for them, the rescue workers countrywide who went to NYC via caravan style to offer any service they could, the families who lost so much, and the young men who later volunteered to serve and protect their country. That is what this date truly means to me. It is not a date to push political beliefs, warmongering or hate. It is a day of reflection, thanks, honor, remembrance and gratitude.

May we never forget what we lost, what we gained and that our country for a little while once again showed the compassion and camaraderie it once had so much of in the past.

Bless you all,

The Technologic Revolution

I come home and turn on the computer. The fans begin to whir, the screen pops up, it does its start up chime as if to say “welcome home.” It is then that I know I am home and about to embark on the most disappointing 5 minutes of my day, checking my myspace and personal email account for the first time from home that day. I log-in and scroll down just slightly enough to see that I have not received any new messages, comments or friend requests.

Do not be confused by this as I do not maintain super-human will power. I work on a computer all day and check my personal accounts on my lunch break which usually is consistent with drinking a protein shake at my desk and working through it via internet research anyway.

It’s a fascinating life that involves, electricity, flat screen monitors and millions of webpages and information at my disposal in the amount of time it takes for me to type it into Google.com. I think the Daft Punk song “Technologic” describes my world completely; a looped list of every computer action-item term you can come up with.

The problem? It is an impersonal existence which distracts from life’s finest offering, human interaction. While some social sites such as myspace and facebook offer the next best thing, the technological lifestyle does not provide users with the 12 hugs a day that keeps the padded room away. I am sure that the wonderful world of Internet exploration can do without me for a few days or even a week. But the question is really, can I do without it?

That is a personal question that I would guess most individuals living in American society today ask and never truly find out until they go camping in an unserviceable location. I have had it happen. The feeling of detachment I experience from entering into a parking garage with no signal on my phone causes minor panic attacks. As if the California Lottery would call me just that one time to tell me that I no longer have to go back to work and can start mingling with the cool kids in the Hamptons. Well, you never know right?

I love technology! I love the freedom it provides. I can type this blog into a Word document, run it through spell check (since my public education and mind fell a little short in that department), copy it, paste it into my blog form, and hit the post button for all the world to see. Some guy in Budapest will now know what my thoughts are on LA Traffic and our local train wrecks LiLo and Britney. Thank God that he has that opportunity to read my opinion because, let’s say it together now, I am just that important. And why shouldn’t I be?

So this blog may seem a bit cynical, trite, jaded and sarcastic; but here it is. It’s on my mind; I have got technology addiction on my mind and why wouldn’t I? I work with it, communicate with it, learn from it, watch and listen to it; shoot I can now date from it. What more could you ask for? Maybe warm bodies are overrated. I’ll just set up a Google Alert for “Warm, life-sized, realistic man robots who know about romance” and when they are available for purchase I will be one of the first online to know about it.