How can something feel forever ago and just a short time ago all at once?
September 11, 2001 was 20 years ago today, and the world as I knew it has never been the same. Since 9/11, there has not been a single September that has passed without the image of a vivid blue sky punctuated by smoke, fear, and confusion. 20 years ago was my first week of classes (following Frosh) at UBC, and the first week that I was living on my own. I remember being glued to the news, and collecting all the newspapers, because I knew one day that my kids would be studying it and then they would have original source material.
What I didn’t know was how deeply that day would effect the very fibre of everyday life. What I didn’t know was that millions of lives would end because of it. What I didn’t know was that there would be the longest war in US history because of it. What I didn’t know was that travel would change. What I didn’t know was that more families would be torn apart than I could possibly have imagined. What I didn’t know could fill volumes. But what I could never have dreamed was that after 20 years and millions of lives, the world would come full circle and the Taliban would be back in power and that the rights of women and children in Afghanistan would be stripped all over again.
It has been 20 years, but it feels like 20 months. It has been 20 years, but there will never be a September 11 that passes that does not bring back the memories of that terrible day.
What can we do? I don’t know. What should we do? Again, I don’t know. What do I want to do? I want to help build a world where women have equal rights. I want to help make our world safer than the one that we have been living in the last 20 years. I don’t know how. I want families to stop being torn to pieces. I want babies to grow up not worrying that their parents are going to be killed in action, or while walking to work.
I want to honour the lives lost on and after 9/11.
📷 via Getty Images