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Only Assholes Are Nostalgic for the Day After 9/11

September 12th, 2001, wasn’t defined by ‘unity’ — it was a time of trauma, amplified a thousandfold for citizens perceived as the enemy

It’s over. Another 9/11 anniversary in the books. Let us move on to September 12th, a day remembered as an occasion of mourning — but also national unity. We rose together as one people, stronger than before, without regard for differences of race, creed, class or politics. We proudly flew our American flags and vowed to stand against hate of any kind. We were strong.

According to these assholes, anyway:

If you think this way, fuck you. If you are nostalgic for a day when people put up posters of their missing loved ones because the bodies hadn’t been found and likely never would be; if you fondly recall the first day of the paralyzing fear and confusion that eventually allowed our government to start spying on us; if you pine for a week when first responders were still breathing in the toxic dust that would give them cancer, then you are a staggering pile of shit.

If you yearn for the America of 9/12, you know what you’re really remembering? A time of trauma that was amplified a thousandfold for citizens perceived as the enemy, who faced newly brazen harassment and hate crime. You probably loved people talking about how the U.S. was going to bomb the Middle East back to the Stone Age; maybe you spent hours playing Flash games where you got to shoot Osama bin Laden. I’m sure you didn’t mind that an unpopular, illegitimate, nepotism-hire Republican president suddenly had sky-high approval ratings because people feared looking any less than zealously patriotic. And I bet you’re secretly kinda pissed that restaurants stopped selling “freedom fries,” aren’t you.

The thing about you 9/12 revisionists is that you can envision peace and solidarity only through mass murder. You have no affection for 9/10, only the aftermath, your American utopia wrought in fire and blood. To you, this country isn’t at its best unless it is under siege from without and creeping toward racist authoritarianism within. It is a paradise of no-fly lists, state-approved torture, color-coded threat levels and an endless war that anyone actually born on September 12th, 2001, is now eligible to fight. (Congratulations to them, by the way.)

But most of all, you romanticize a day when — even as emergency personnel sifted through the rubble for survivors and began to count the dead — you were able to feel right. You always suspected the rest of the world were savages bent on doing us harm. After the first wave of shock on 9/11, you started saying, “I told you so.” It’s in that same air of horrific pride that a certain someone welcomes continued slaughter.

It is the duty of all who did live through September 11th, 2001, and the day after, and the weeks and months that followed, to reject the saccharine, spurious narrative of everyone “coming together” in that time. There was no healing. There was precious little kindness, and that little delivered through insurmountable grief. But there was shock, and there was rage, in tandem giving rise to a jingoistic nightmare from which we have yet to awaken. The ghouls who “miss” 9/12 are not missing a spirit of resilience but an open wound that was soon infected with the worst of their beliefs. If that day had been what they claim it was, then something, anything, would have changed for the better. We are living through the proof that nothing ever did.