Keller @ Large: How 9/11 Changed America

BOSTON (CBS) – Chances are you will never forget where you were when you heard about the mass murders of September 11, 2001.

I spent the day at a South Boston polling place as Americans of all ages and backgrounds, most in a state of shock, streamed in to vote in an act of collective defiance of the fools who thought they could bring down a nation they knew nothing about.

I was proud of our country before 9/11, never prouder than on that day, and ten years later, I’m still proud of us, that hasn’t changed and never will. But I’m sorry to say that that’s not the only thing that 9/11 doesn’t seem to have changed.

Before 9/11, we were smug about our national security, secure in the knowledge that terrorists couldn’t hit us here. After ten years without another successful attack (unless you count the Fort Hood massacre), there are plenty of signs of smugness returning among the legions with short attention spans.

Listen to Keller @ Large

Before 9/11, we were an increasingly un-serious society, distracted by fluff and cultural junk food. Last night, the top trending twitter topics in the nation included National Kiss Day and “go Packers.”

Before 9/11, our political culture had deteriorated into a useless charade of partisan bickering and refusal to deal with real problems. Need I say more about that?

Yes, some things have changed dramatically since 9/11. Before 9/11 we thought we could play footsie with criminals like Saddam or Ghadafi to keep the oil flowing. I think we know better now, most of the time.

We are safer, thanks to our brave armed forces and a whole lot of anti-terrorism activity, some of which probably never made the news.

And if you lost a loved one on that day or in the wars that have followed, you are living with the most terrible change possible.

Ten years is not too long to remember when we thought we’d all been changed forever by 9/11. But for better or for worse – mostly for worse, I think – that has proven untrue.

And that’s why the remembering we’re doing right now is so incredibly important to our future.

More from Jon Keller
  • tsal

    I suspect we will not only never forget where we were but we won’t forget the entire day or week or month. I wish though that we hadn’t forgotten the unity. It wasn’t just in our country; it was worldwide. I remember a week maybe more after September 11 that we as a nation had a moment of silence at the time each plane hit. There were pictures of people in other countries driving to work and at the designated time they actually pulled their cars to the side of whatever road they were on and got out to stand in silence.

    We learned so much. The lives of generations were changed forever that day. In the same light, I wish we’d learned more.

  • Liz

    I agree with you 100% Keller, but I guess I like those things about us. I like that we can slip back into a comfortable “fluff” world. To me, that means that our service men and women are fighting for the right thing (for us to live in a world where we don’t have to watch our backs 24/7). While I hate the stupid junk we watch and do most of the time… isn’t it great we have the luxury to do so? Isn’t it great that terrorist didn’t succeed in making us paranoid citizens?

    I will never forget 9/11 or the lives lost that day and in the 10 years of fighting that has gone on since. I choose to honor those lives by enjoying mine, and not wasting it in fear.

  • Willow

    To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I would like to drive through every neighborhood and town in America and see what we saw 10 years ago: an American flag blowing in the wind from every home and business. What happened to all those flags that waved so proudly during that time?

  • gramps

    Tribute to flight ’93′, new lyrics to ‘Angels flying too close to the ground’ by ‘Willie Nelson’.

    If you had not have acted
    Then we would not have known you
    Angels flying too close to the ground

    And in your action…you saved many others
    Knowing you’d be gone in awhile
    Your love kept our spirits up
    As we laid you down

    We know someday…will meet again
    For love’s the greatest memory…to be found
    You ask us to remember…the lesson that you left us

    Angels flying too close to the ground

    (Piano/Instrumental Solo)

    Fly on, fly on past the speed of sound
    We’d rather see you up…We won’t let you down

    You left us cause you had to
    We will still remember…the lesson that you taught us
    Angels flying too close to the ground

    You left us cause you had to
    We will still remember…the lesson that you left us
    Angels flying too close to the ground


  • mikey

    As a nation we now appear to be hopelessly indebted and bitterly divided much of which can be attributed to the heinous, horrific terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Have the terrorist achieved their objectives?

    • tsal

      I’m not clear on what ties our economic mess to the terrorist attacks? I can see where it contributed but I haven’t thought of it as a key reason.

  • mikey

    The Iraq war alone is expected to cost an estimated 3 trillion from what I’ve learned. A trillion seconds is almost 32,000 years.

    All this money spent for wars takes away from discretionary spending for other federal programs such as health-care, infrastructure repair etc. which has lead to the borrowing of additional trillions, putting this country in economic jeopardy. How long could you live on a credit card cash advance?

    Hope this makes sense, it’s Friday night, I’ve had a couple of beers and am trying to beat the “refresh” deadline. Bub-bye now.

    • tsal

      Mikey I read your comment last night but was on the deck with a glass of wine and was too relaxed to respond but it did make sense :)

      I don’t believe the Iraq war has anything to do with terrorist attacks. It is Bush’s war and I am not bashing Bush. That is simply a fact. And I firmly believe that we would be out of Afghanistan if we hadn’t taken our eye off of that to go to Iraq. So I can’t add any cost from Iraq to terrorism here and I can only add some of the cost of Afghanistan. Now we need to leave both – completely – IMHO.

      • mikey

        The 9/11 terrorist attacks gave President Cheney, oops sorry, Bush the excuse he needed to invade Iraq and oust Saddam Hussein, for whatever reason. The cost of that war continues to jet – what a waste of money!

        I totally agree with your views posted above with respect to the Afghanistan war.

      • tsal

        hahahahahahahahaha – sorry can’t stop laughing. And then indirectly you are correct and I see what you mean. Now I’m headed back to the deck and hope you have a beer in hand too!

        It’s a beautiful weekend to reflect. There are many gatherings in towns and cities tomorrow. We will attend the one in our town. I like Merimack’s comment below and hope for the same.

      • mikey

        Yes tsal, it’s now Saturday night and at this juncture my wife and I are about to enjoy a nice steak with plenty of wine and beer out on our deck as well – what a night! Cheers to you and yours!

        P.S. I also agree with you that merimack nailed it.

  • merimack

    We will forget. Not right away. We do not talk about the attack on Pearl Harbor any more. In another generation 9/11 will just be another day in history. What I pray is children will know that date as the day this generation made a better USA, the way the greatest generation did after 12/7.

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