I heard somewhere recently (or read somewhere recently) that the reason that Harry Potter and other magical or fantastical movies have been making so much money is because people are looking for a little magic in their lives.
9/11 changed American’s lives. It changed how we viewed ourselves and how we viewed the world. It changed the untouchable mentality that we had been living with for so long.
Most American’s who were alive that day can recall exactly where they were when they heard the news, it was the new ‘Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” I was in Pittsburg, KS. I was attending college and was just beginning my second year there. I was on my way to class and I turned on the radio in my car and every station was playing the exact same thing. For a moment I thought it was another “War of the Worlds” hoax and then I realized it was real. I went to campus and it was like a ghost town. Students were milling around moving from room to room not really going anywhere. Students were wailing and when I finally made it to my classroom the professor just turned on the TV and we watched the world change. It was sad and horrifying. The world had just changed and as I looked around the room I knew that some of my friends would be going off to war. I knew that my friends would die fighting so that what happened on that day would never happen again.
We continued for days in this stunned state. There were lines for miles at the gas station because everyone was certain that gas prices would sky-rocket (which eventually they did). Parties on campus got bigger. There were 24 keggers instead of the standard 1 keg per party. Escapism got bigger and phrases like “shock and awe” became ridiculous as each newspaper and news station kept repeating the phrase over and over. Drinking games were developed around this one phrase. We all did what we could to forget that we were not actually untouchable. We mourned the loss of lives and the nation came together in shock as we never did before.
9/11 changed how we viewed the world and our role in it. Students and “adults” alike began discussing how we could get pay back and I remember thinking: by killing others? When the Dixie Chicks made their remarks but our President I remember thinking “finally someone said it.” And when that guy came out with that song with the lyric “we’ll put a boot in your ass” I remember thinking “oh good antagonize our enemies that will work out well.” Weapons of mass destruction my ass!
Anyway a few weeks ago when I was in a class called Theology and Pop Culture I couldn’t help thinking what else that day changed. It changed how we sought to lose ourselves. I think movies actually started being advertised as ways to forgot your troubles.
Magic in movies became a way to lose yourself. Fantastical lands became places to forget what was going on in our world. Life became something to escape.
Fairy tales were no longer just for children. The 10 year anniversary is fast approaching and as I remember where I was on that fateful day I can’t help but think about all the people that died that die. The people who jumped to their deaths. The people on the planes as well as in the buildings and the firefighters, paramedics, and police that lost their lives saving others. I also can’t help but think about the families of loved ones who died that day. What will the anniversary mean for them? Are they still deep in their grief or have they moved on in their lives?
I consider myself lucky that I didn’t know anyone in those buildings or on the planes that fateful day but I do pray for those who did know someone. I pray for the families and friends who lost someone that day and every day thereafter.
As the anniversary approaches I am reflecting on how our lives changed that day and how they continue to change because of that day. The nation is in financial turmoil because we went to war. We went to war because planes crashed into the Two Towers and killed more than I can count. The planes crashed that day because???? Of all the questions we have answered in the past 10 years did we ever ask the question about prevention?
Sure we changed how we are patted down in the airport and extreme measures such as x-rays that show our skivvies were invented for prevention but that only stops an act in process. What stops the act from being thought of? What stops violence from being an option?
I have no answers for my questions. Just more prayers to be prayed. As 9/11/2011 approaches I will be praying for the country, for families who have lost someone in the war on terror, for families and friends of people who died on 9/11, and for those who currently make decisions about how to keep me and you safe everyday. I will pray that wise decisions are made and that we do our best to bring about peace and not antagonism.
Lots of praying going on….as well as some intellectual reflection.