Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering September 11, 2001

Like most people I remember some of the details of the morning of September 11, 2001. I was preparing to teach a class at a university in Southeast Kansas that morning. One sad truth is that people are still suffering and dying as a consequence of the events of that day. To conclude that the high rates of cancers among those who responded to that event cannot be scientifically linked to exposures to toxic dusts seems disingenuous to me. If our nation cannot afford to provide the first responders healthcare treatments for their present conditions then I wish some official would simply say so. I remember walking to lunch at Taco Bell through the fairly deep snow that morning. There were long lines of cars at the gas station next to the railroad track, waiting to be filled with gasoline. The sky the next day was the most beautiful blue sky that I have ever seen in sixty years. To think that I was stepping through snow in September in Southeast Kansas seems odd only ten years later. The fact that the grounding of commercial aircraft produced such a dramatic difference in the appearance of the sky is remarkable. I remember as a small child in the 1950s that I could see thousands of stars almost every night. Now, ask a young person if he or she has even once seen the North Star, the big dipper and the little dipper. Their only dippers are likely to be dairy treats. As I remember that fateful day I do so in the context of the evidence that there are things even more frightening than acts of terrorism affecting the health of earth's living beings.

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