Friday, September 12, 2014

Never Forget

Well, there goes that muse again, ranting and wailing and generally making a mess of herself until I finally say, "Alright!  Alright, I'll write it."

I know that I just posted earlier today, and I even promised much more amusing posts in the future on very interesting subjects.  But, as I traverse that Internet as I am wont to do, I have seen many different reactions to the passing of September 11th, a day that has gone down in history as an incredibly tragic day.  (I know that it was yesterday, but hear me out)  

As I observed the opinions of others and their arguments, whether sympathetic, apathetic, or just pathetic, I noticed a few common threads.  First, people tend to begin with describing where they were when it happened and how they felt.  I shall follow suit.  

I was young when it happened, only 9.  I remember that I was in my 4th grade class when the planes hit.  Class was immediately suspended, and the teacher turned on the TV.  Normally, some students would have taken advantage of this moment to chatter to each other, but I distinctly remember the silence.  It was as if we could sense in the air that something immense and terrible was going on. 

By my perception, the 3000 people that died was an enormous amount, almost incomprehensible. Now, though, I read many opinions that wonder why this event is so remembered, since so many more people have died in the War on Terror, the Holocaust, etc.  I want to focus on the most recent events in particular, because we could continue for quite a while about the horrors of wars long past.  

OK, get ready for some approximations.  Between 2003 and 2011, there were approximately 120,000 civilian deaths, depending on where you get your facts.  (That's an average, folks)  So, the amount of deaths from the attacks on Sept. 11th equal approximately 2.5% of the civilian deaths from the War on Terror.  

Is it, then, inconsequential in the face of so many more deaths?  No, of course not.  But why, you might ask, are the other deaths not getting the same kind of attention?  Timing, I think.   

We have roughly 100,000 hairs on our heads.  If I lost 100 hairs a day to a drastically receding hairline, then in about 3 years I'd be completely bald.  But, if I lost 2500 hairs in a single day, my hair lose would be much more noticeable.  That's the idea at work here; it's not the math, it's the sensation.  Any hair loss is lamentable, but rapid and sudden hair loss is memorable.  

Humanity is general is fairly hardened to everyday statistics, no matter how horrible they may be.  This is understandable, since I personally can hardly sympathize with and understand the thousands of ways that humans are dying this very minute across the planet.  It's just too much for a single mind to comprehend.  But what we can comprehend is a single event, a moment when through a series of fateful choices, many lives were lost.  That's why we still remember this day, just as we remember Pearl Harbor, and Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, and any number of other horrible days.

In conclusion, I do not intend to diminish or cheapen the lives of those who died on September 11th or those who have died throughout the recent wars.  They are all humans, and therefore of inherent worth.  What I attempt is only an explanation of my perception of human nature, and why people act how they act on days like these.

May we never forget all the innocent lives that have been lost in our troublesome times.  

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