Missing the Last Train Home

This is the fifth and concluding article in a series to discuss the ten-year anniversary of 9/11. Ask Ceil will resume next week.

Last night–early this morning, actually–we were trying to get work done, to read, to get some sleep. We had missed the last train back home, and the three of us stayed in the passenger waiting lounge until the 4:21 to New Jersey arrived.

Long, loud security announcements would jar us out of our drowsy activities several times an hour. It was only when writing this article that I realized how easily I now accept these pre-recorded messages as annoying but normal. Sitting with a guitar and backpack filled with cables and electronics, my only thought was to wonder if we might be selected for one of those random searches that the announcements assure could be performed.

The phrase “If you see something, say something” almost certainly pre-dates 11 September 2011. However, the collapse of the trade center made it harder to mock this. Even ineffectual security measures that caught the stupid criminals and terrorists now tend to bring about an equal measure of mockery and serious criticism.

The articles we ran this week her on the Nose have reminded me that 9/11 was an almost unique event in my lifetime. (I don’t remember the moon landing or Woodstock all that well, although I was alive then.) My generation had no Pearl Harbor, no Hiroshima. There were certainly horrific events–genocide sadly continues as usual on this planet.

What will happen this Sunday, on the decade-versary of the event? People are certainly afraid of an attack, and the U.S. Government is taking the possibility quite seriously.

The debate over balancing freedom and security is an old one, and the fight won’t end in our lifetimes. If there is an attack, will the small gains in the return of rights be reeled back by the current administration? My sad thought is that Obama probably will do this, and that we’ll see pro-Patriot act sentiment rise again. Complaining about security theater in airports and on subways will again be frowned upon. After all, if you have nothing to hide, why are you complaining?

Edit: One additional article has been unexpectedly submitted for this series. “Ten Years” by Ceil Kessler will run on Monday.

Neil Fein is a freelance editor. On the side, he’s the guitarist in the band Baroque & Hungry and rides a mean bicycle. He also paints when the mood strikes him.


5 thoughts on “Missing the Last Train Home

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