9/11 plus 8

Today, on the eighth anniversary of 9/11, many channels ran specials, some of which I DVR’ed. After watching one tonight, taped in 2002, interviewing photographers who captured images that day, watching unbelievable images documented that day, I felt compelled to write something – if not to honor the people who suffered and died on that day (and in the subsequent years in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan),but at least to share what it’s reminded me of.

As so many of us were, the attacks, chaos, and destruction that ensued from that day impacted my life profoundly. Although I was back in the Bay Area from a recent trip, I found myself depressed for weeks and months by all the events that occurred- it was weird since I’d never experienced that- to be moved and affected by something that happened 3000 miles away.

I look at America eight years later and wonder if we’ve changed for the better. Politically in many ways we have, but in other ways with the infighting, greed, the lack of finding common ground, the pursuit of arguing to win instead of fighting for what’s wrong or right, and the push to merge church and state by some shows me that we haven’t. And although massive greed almost killed the economic machine that allows us to live so freely and comfortably as compared to other countries, even that didn’t stop business-as-usual for the ones who feel their place in this world is based on their bank balance instead of their character. Even Plato understood this when he wrote “All the gold which under or upon the Earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue”, and he lived almost 2500 years ago.

To top it off, we still seem to care about crazy reality couples who’ve become famous by having too many children, and buy the ridiculous magazines to read the gossip and support this behavior, instead of finding medical care for so many underprivileged children in this Nation. In this still rich Nation.

So these were the things I was reminded of today as a photographer who has traveled the world. September 11th, 2009 gave me the chance again to honor the fallen Americans, but also reminded me that this Nation was formed, compiled, created by people of all nations – and that all nationalities were changed, were moved, were killed.

On September 7th, 2001, I took the NY Subway to the World Trade Center and walked through the lobby for the first time; an Iranian-American with my Italian-Beliguim journalist friend ending our week of work in NYC. Four days later the world changed for so many lives. Eight years later it continues to affect Americans – Americans who came together from every corner of the world.