September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2019 | 18 Years of War …

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This image is from 2014, representing a crisis in Iraq that went underreported in the United States. Right or wrong, one of our reactions to 9/11/2001 was to destabalize Iraq. From Unicef.

World War II started on September 1, 1939, and ended on September 2, 1945. The United States entered the war on December 7, 1941.

18 years after 1945 was 1963. For a lot of people, 2001 doesn’t feel that far away. But that’s how far we are from 9/11/2001, now.

On September 2, 1963, the biggest news of the days was two things. First, that TV news on CBS and NBC was expanding from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. And more importantly, George Wallace tried to stop the integration of Tuskegee High School. 18 years is a long time.

That’s how much time has passed, and how much things have changed.
That’s how long we’ve accepted the War on Terror as a normal state of affairs.

Imagine every movie you’ve ever seen set during World War II. Now, imagine the first time you saw a cartoon with Pebbles Flintstone — she started on the third season in 1963. Or, imagine the song “Love Me Do” by The Beatles. How far apart those worlds seem.

That’s how far apart we are from 9/11/2001 and 9/11/2019. That’s how different the world is, the world of any World War II movie and The Beatles.

Now, imagine if World War II had continued on after 1945, and was still going on when The Beatles first premiered, or Pebbles Flintstone was on TV. Imagine if World War II had gone on another 18 years. Between 1945 and 1963, the US fought in the Korean War. And less than a year later, in 1964, the US would involve itself in the Vietnamese civil war, and kill countless people.

That’s us, that’s our people, and the War on Terror. That’s how long we’ve let that war go on.

Around me, I can hear younger people who were most likely in grade school when 9/11 was swirling around them. The normal state of the world they grew up in was the war on terror. Growing up with that as your baseline can fool you into thinking the war on terror is normal. In a way, if you think about Korea, about Vietnam, about Iraq, Afghanistan, war is normal for us.

Every year, I hope we end the War on Terror on this date. Every year, I hope we decide to make a new normal, to make a new world, to stop doing our part to perpetuate a world of commonplace slaughter, and do our part to end war as a normal state of affairs for humanity.

Every year since 2001, I’ve wished for the same thing, that on the anniversary of 9/11, we would end the war on terror. Every year, I hope that this will be the year we choose peace.

That’s what I think about, every year, on 9/11.

There’s always next year.

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