posted on Apr, 2 2004 @ 08:50 PM
Some time ago I worked for a webzine, and the Managing Editor asked several of the staffers to contribute a reflective piece on the events of 9/11 to
mark its first anniversary. In the piece I wrote then, a year and a half ago, I made a comparison to the assassination of John Kennedy, largely based
on the personal significance of the events as relative to the generations that lived through them.
Specifically, I noted that I had always groaned when my mother would start in on the story of where she was (in the classroom in Junior High) when the
news was read over the loudspeaker. She claimed she remembered exactly what she was wearing, who said what, who cried, how they dismissed school, and
so on. I noted that I had always been sure that her mind was coloring the experience for her, filling in the little details that memory couldn't
possibly still be supplying. At least that's what I had thought until 9/11, which I can now remember with the same almost photographic clarity.
In any case, that's where my comparison had halted at the time. At the time. Since then I've been thinking a lot about those events and how they
reshaped the world in their wake, and I see a lot more that the two events have in common.
Both of them precipitated a war - in JFK's instance, the heightened involvement in Vietnam, while 9/11 had the far more direct result of the invasion
of Afghanistan, the War on Terror, and the subsequent invasion of Iraq.
Looking at the bare facts of each case leads to the conclusion that there was a fundamental failure on the side of government agencies to provide the
most basic precepts of security and protection. In Dallas, security details were lax, failing to follow basic procedures like sealing open windows
along the parade route and allowing a 120 degree turn that violated established Secret Service protocols. In NYC and DC, planes were allowed without
interference into restricted airspace - in NYC there was even a second plane, and fighters were either not scrambled or scrambled too late.
Elementary evidence has been ignored, whitewashed, or simply never brought up in both instances. The files on the Kennedy assassination have been
purloined, destroyed, and sealed for 75 years. The black boxes from the Pentagon and WTC planes were never recovered.
Most alarmingly, however, I think the thing that both events have in common most strongly is that both ushered in a period of grief-stricken
complacency for the American people that allowed silent government to seize more power. In the wake of Kennedy's killing, nobody questioned the
heightening of our involvement in Southeast Asia - at least not at first. And in the wake of 9/11, very few voices were heard to protest the
incremental relinquishing of civil liberties in the name of tightening security.
I'm very much afraid that later generations may look back at us and wonder how we could have let ourselves be fooled, much the way I look back at the
generation that received that news from Dallas.