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(Documentaries about Sept. 11, 2001 are gut wrenching to watch. Too many Americans, though, let their thinking processes stop at the event. A letter writer in the Sunday Post-Dispatch thought beyond the events of that day, though–just as Byron has done. I’ll post part of his letter at the end of this diary. – promoted by hotflash)

“A second plane has hit the World Trade Center”, was the announcement on the radio early in the morning on the West Coast. Awakened to a horror that millions were witness to-soon capturing the attention of billions around the world. None of it seemed real. And then the buildings came down.

The first plane to hit WTC was American Airlines Flight 11, which on September 11th, smashed into the North Tower instantly killing all on board and fatally trapping 1,344 people.

Only a day before 9/11, a friend of mine, singer-songwriter Lea Longo, had travelled on the same AA flight path as Flight 11-Boston to LA-and was shocked when she heard the news about which planes had been hijacked and diverted.

We wrote a song called “Remember This Day” and performed it on several cable channels in Southern California in the aftermath of 9/11. You can listen to it by clicking on the video link here, or watch the embedded video on this page.

“Remember This Day”

I didn’t believe that it was true

Couldn’t believe that no one knew

What the future of our lives could ever be…

Like a picture from a movie scene

Like a moment in a terrible dream

Fire was falling from the sky

People were running for their lives…

Remember this day

For all of the ones that lost…

Remember this day

For all of the blood it has cost…

Remember this day

The innocents who fell down

Their Spirits all live on forever

And we will make it through somehow

If we remember this day…

Remember this day…

As I wrote last May in a piece entitled Our world beyond 9/11,

“9/11 fundamentally changed our way of life, the way we travel, it instigated wars leading to hundreds of thousands of dead, wounded, displaced; we’ve wiretapped without warrant, tortured, and sent the drones in. Protected civil liberties have been sacrificed for security.”

It is altogether fit for us to pause and reflect on the tenth anniversary of that life shattering event, never forget its impact upon our reality-and dedicate ourselves to investing time and energy toward incrementally building an environment of care, compassion and strength through which the repetition of that catastrophe is as close to impossible as possible.

From hotflash: Here’s the LTE.

While we remember the massacre that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, I hope Americans don’t wallow in short-sighted self absorption but take a clear-eyed look at what happened and carefully evaluate our response over the past decade.

We have allowed our surprise, shock and grief to redefine ourselves as a nation. We reacted with greater emotion than insight, lashing out with the massive destructiveness of our unparalleled military capabilities. We were so enraged at the actions of a few that we struck back indiscriminately at entire nations. We succeeded in roiling the political dynamic of the Middle East but in ways that were and are unpredictable and that give us no good reason to believe they will be advantageous to our national security.

With our military still present a full decade after we were attacked, is it any wonder that the citizens of the countries we moved against see us as occupiers? We are responsible for the deaths of many more innocents than the 3,000 who were taken from us.

Perhaps most difficult to face is the way in which our response played into the hands of our attackers. We began to disregard some of the most basic tenets of our Constitution. In our rage, we undermined our own financial security, wasting billions of dollars here and abroad. We squandered the lives of many brave and patriotic young Americans. All of this was self-inflicted and deleterious to the real security of our homeland, damaging our nation in ways that have exceeded the fondest hopes of our enemies.

We don’t need a 10th anniversary of sentimentalized navel-gazing. We could use a day of no-nonsense reflection, a determination to abandon our self-pity and a resolve to look forward with maturity and self-awareness as we continue to grapple with defining our place in this rapidly changing world.