A young boy, just 11 years old is sitting in his grade school math class, waiting for his next one and eventually his return home, it's early in the morning. All is normal with the day thus far. The teacher wheels a television set into the room and turns it on, quickly flicking through the channels to find the news, apparently something important is going on, though nobody can tell what. Through the first playthrough of the clip on the TV set, nobody is quite sure what they're seeing, but they do know that there's a couple of buildings with smoke pouring out of them.
The teacher slowly, calmly explains what's going on, she tells us that some bad people have crashed a plane into the World Trade Center buildings. Those buildings sound important to me but I still don't really get the significance of the whole thing happening. She continues to describe what's going on as the light of realization starts to click in my class' minds. I realize that there's a huge attack on my country going on, someone mentions this is likely going to be in the history books someday. Some of my classmates start to react, realizing that they have some family possibly in those towers. People are dying, burning, something horrible happened on this day, and I'm only scratching the surface of how it will affect me. The teacher tells us that we're going home early today, and about all of the things that are happening all around. I have no idea what this will mean for the future, but I know it'll probably be a while before this cools off.
Skip ahead exactly nine years, I'm here in Afghanistan now wearing gray digital camouflage and armed with an M4 assault rifle. I'm sitting in an office answering radios for people who are out there. A couple of years ago in a burst of patriotism (and lack of a job) I signed up for service in the Maine Army National Guard. Maybe it was all the chants of "we will never forget", or the countless patriotic country songs, maybe it was the latent boiling hatred for whatever fucked up my country years ago.
America has been at war for 9 years today with an enemy who refuses to give up, just as we do. I don't authentically hate these people, I know better. I don't even hate the guys who crashed into the towers, I hate their ideology, I hate why they feel justified to crash a plane into a building, and I hate how they've twisted the words of a holy document to meet their needs.
I wonder what this country will be like another 9 or 10 years from now...