I remember the morning of 9/13/2001 very well. It was the Thursday after the eviscerating attacks of 9/11/2001, and one of the three days a week I go running. I live North and East of DFW airport, due north of Love Field, and just Northwest of Addison airport. Air traffic is common, but hardly noticeable - most aircraft are at altitude.
As I was running through my peaceful neighborhood, it struck me: There were no planes that morning. A single attack had shut down the entire airline industry in the US.
That was my first lucid realization of the changes that would be brought on our world. Today, we willingly subject ourselves to scrutiny at the airport, arriving over an hour in advance of our flights. We dutifully remove our belts and shoes, unpack our briefcases, bag up our little bottles of liquid, and so forth. Screeners randomly pull people from the line for closer scrutiny.
Don't get me started on profiling airplane hijackers.
So what, you might ask? What's so different?
Before 9/11, I used to stop at a convenience store on the way back from Houston once a week, pick up a sandwich and a six pack, then get on the plane and enjoy my dinner on the short flight home. No questions asked, nobody even batted an eye.
Air travel aside, what else has changed? We're at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, pursuing those who would perpetrate such things as the 9/11 attack. We've been largely successful there, save for killing UBL. Our military is the spear tip of our diplomatic efforts, and it's a sharp one.
Our economy has not yet recovered.
But what about ideology? Religion? Tolerance? How has America changed since 9/11?
How much more do you know about Islam now? How much more do you realize that there's been a centuries-old war between Islam and the Western world? Perhaps "war" is a bit strong, because Islam is persistent and patient. Islam will continue to expand where ever it can. Islam's "war" is one of assimilation, acquisition, of subtlety and virtual silence. Muslims are devout and devoted to their cause.
Only the radical schisms of Islam commit outrageous acts of high-profile violence, often to the alleged outrage of more moderate Muslims. Granted, I've seen more outrage in daily traffic, but they profess that this isn't their plan for foisting Islam on the world, and that is largely true.
And what has anyone done to try to stem this tide?
As you reflect on 9/11, reflect on how our world has changed since then. Be careful, though - you're probably not going to like what you see.