Current Affairs

Remembering 9/11, Patriots Day

Yatindra Bhatnagar

Time flies but memories linger on. Sometimes painful, better to forget, sometimes sweet and unforgettable.

What happened on September 11, 2001, targeting the iconic New York Twin Towers as The Symbols, are both – painful and unforgettable.

I was at a special school and the classes were about to start when one of my classmates told me about a terror attack in New York. Since there were so many happening all over the world I did not pay much attention right away. When she gave me a little more info I was terribly alarmed. From then on our lives changed, my perception about terror acts was transformed, and my reaction took a more serious tone.

And so was my determination to fight it, my way, with my meager contribution, whenever possible, wherever possible. I had to raise my voice even when I didn’t see any listeners. But I had to keep doing what was right. I have been doing that for 16 years, in the present phase.

Not that there were no terror-attacks before that fateful morning. There were hundreds of them, in different parts of the world. In India, where I was born and spent the first 57 years of my life, they were taking place with more frequency. They happened, and are still happening, in America, a country I adopted as my home in 1986. The terrorists are creating havoc also in Europe and Africa, in probably half the countries of the 194 UN members-states. 

There has been no solution, no determined action and no soul-searching – by those who indulge in them, and by those who still don’t realize the gravity of these systematic attacks and their short and long-term effects on humanity, on demography, on various religions, culture and peace.

Sixteen years back, on 9/11 after-school, the whole day I was glued to the TV and to my typewriter. The result was a heartfelt poem, the same day, and a lasting effect since. [‘The Attack on Humanity’ is in the poetry section.]

America annually observes the tragedy as Patriots Day. There are meetings, parades, pledges and exhibitions. School children are associated with the observance. Veteran and officials also are a part of these events. The President attends an event to commemorate the sacrifice thousands made, and re-iterates the pledge to keep defending the nation. It’s also the day to re-dedicate ourselves to upholding the ideals and principles of nationalism, solid defense of the country and democracy, and also service to the community.

However, it’s sad to see political parties bickering about ‘other’ matters and frittering away their energies and tax-payer’s money on fighting among themselves, fighting on unimportant issues, violating the laws, shielding the criminals, skirting the Constitution, and also fighting the government of the day.

Some fight for climate, some environment. Some fight taxes, some impose them. Some want higher office. Some fight for the blacks, whites, Latinos, other migrants and ‘refugees,’ some against them. Some even fight the Flag, and the National Anthem. Some fight the Police and some fight without knowing the issues they are fighting on; they are confused, and they don’t know any other thing. Some don’t want to accept defeat, some don’t allow the due democratic process to continue, and wait for their opportunity. Some totally forget to fight for the most important goals – to   make the country great, strong, prosperous, united, safe and peaceful.

On this Patriots Day, let’s all pledge for the right path, and the right direction, more importantly, respect the Flag and the National Anthem.