Saturday, September 10, 2011

Memories of 9/11

My remaining little bird in the nest was working on a school project this week and came with interview questions for me regarding my memories of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. I do remember that day.

I was quietly lying in bed, listening to NPR, while my husband shaved and waiting for him to leave the bathroom so I could get started on my day. Because of my experience as a Macy's Christmas season temporary in the Contra Costa Mall when a small plane crashed into it in the 1980's, I knew right away that the planes had purposefully been flown into those buildings. The year of 2001 had been very difficult for our family beginning with the very harsh impact of the Dot Com bust on our small business, the February Nisqually earthquake which left our home with significant latent damage, a family member who was significantly injured in a car accident in March, and on that day my country was under attack.

My daughter bravely left a few days later to take her first job in New York on Long Island as a nanny. I remember thinking that it was probably the safest time in years to be flying. My oldest son was on a mission for two years for our church, and while I worried for him, I was actually glad he was not in America during those weeks and thought he was probably safer in Brazil. Of all the many heroes of 9/11, I was most moved by the brave passengers of Flight 93 who represent the best sacrifices of the ordinary and imperfect American in doing what we think of as right and moral when faced with extraordinary circumstances.

Reflecting back, in some ways, I think the terrorists accomplished what they set out to do by destabilizing our economy which had large institutions building ever larger houses of cards based on what really cannot be described as anything short of fraud. While it is convenient to blame the government and large corporations, individuals who stretched the truth in a variety of ways have a lot to do with the sub prime loan mess that ultimately took the economy down. I do believe without the significant interruption and blast to our social fabric caused by the terrorist attacks of that fateful day, we could have happily continued kicking the can down the road. Much of this fraud would not have taken place but for the climate created by deregulation of the financial industry and the glorification and reward of greed caused by regulators looking the other way as long as the economic boom continued.

It boggles my mind to hear calls for reducing regulation as a way to grow the economy when clearly that is how we got to where we are today because we created a climate where the worst inclinations of some of the people toward greed and corruption could grow unchecked and unfettered. As I attend my church in the morning with a few hundred other people during our regularly scheduled Stake Conference, I expect to hear various speakers mention 9/11. I will silently ponder the loss of so many lives on that day and the loss of so many lives since then. I will mentally pray for all who suffer innocently and those who suffer in their guilt. I will ask myself again what I as an individual should do differently in terms of my own integrity and ethics and I will continue to support thoughtful, prudent regulation and fully funded government enforcement of regulation to protect against those very human foibles of greed and corruption which put us all at risk.

I hope other Americans will also end their personal reflections on the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks with an increased sense of urgency to do the right thing, even when we have to make a small or large personal financial sacrifice (i.e. pay taxes or comply with a regulation that we think perhaps shouldn't apply to us-and I've got a few I don't like as a small business owner), or whether it is funding our promises to our senior citizens, caring for our disabled poor or simply saying that we will not tolerate the fraudulent business activities that threaten the financial health of our country and people in the same way that we have mobilized to fight terrorism.

Cross posted on my Kittitas County Democratic Party Chair Blog on September 10, 2011.