It's Already Been 15 Years

It's Already Been 15 Years

9/11 was one of the worst days of our lives.

I've always been told that I have an amazing memory. I can remember almost anything from my life. It scares my family and friends every time that I can remember something so obscure from the past. I can remember what I was wearing on a specific day and remember what I was doing, almost 100% perfect.

On September 11, 2001, I remember I was in kindergarten at Maybeury Elementary School. I had taken the bus that morning, as I always did. I was in class, and as a five-year-old, I was thinking carelessly. All of a sudden, there was an announcement over the P.A. system telling all students, faculty, and staff to grab our backpacks, lunch boxes, and line up and come to the bus circle. I remember being so excited because I figured we were either going home early or going on a field trip. I grabbed my backpack and stood in line with the rest of my kindergarten class. We walked outside and were told to board our buses to go home. I was so confused, but I did as told, and got on the bus.

About ten minutes later, we pulled up in front of my bus stop in my neighborhood. I walked a few yards to my house and walked inside. My mom was sitting in a chair in the kitchen crying. I had never seen my mom cry before today, or at least not like this. I realized she was talking to my grandmother. That's when I saw on our white box TV in the kitchen that two planes had struck the World Trade Center. At that moment, I obviously didn't understand, and did not understand why my mother was so upset. She was worried about my aunt and uncle who live in New York. My uncle had worked in at the World Trade Center for years. He had retired, fortunately, before this tragedy occurred.

A few years passed and I finally understood what happened on September 11, 2001. I realized what enormous tragedy had happened, and what terror occurred not only in New York City and Washington D.C., but also all over the world. I learned how many people lost their lives. I learned about all the people who survived, some with only a slight chance of living. I heard the haunting phone calls and read text messages from people who were in the buildings and in the planes, all while in my U.S. History class.

This year's freshmen in high school will be the first generation to learn about 9/11 as a historical event in their textbooks. I was only a child when this occurred but it still affected me. It affected everyone. My uncle, being the thoughtful man he is, wrote letters to family members and children who lost a loved one in the event.

Last year was my freshman year in college. On the 14th anniversary of this horrific day, UMW decided to post small American flags all around Ball Circle, which is a very central place in our campus. It absolutely shocks me that it has only been fifteen years since this day. Even though it has been fifteen years since the actual day, it has been a recurring event in many peoples' minds everyday.

My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the family and friends who lost loved ones due to this terrible attack.

Never. Forget.

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Ilhan Omar Is at Best Foolhardy and at Worst, Yes, Anti-Semitic

Her latest statements seem to lack substance, motivation, or direction.


I find the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be a curious one.

Specifically, I am referring to the recent controversy over select comments of hers that have generated accusations of anti-Semitism. In all honesty, prior to doing research for this article, I was prepared to come to her defense.

When her comments consisted primarily of "Israeli hypnosis" and monied interest, I thought her wording poor, though not too egregiously deviated from that of most politicians in the current climate of bad behavior. After all, Israeli PACs surely do have a monied interest in the orientation of United States policy in the Middle East. Besides, if President Trump can hypothesize about killing someone in broad daylight and receive no official sanction, I don't see the need for the House of Representatives to hand down reprimand to Rep. Omar for simply saying that Israel may have dealt wrongly, regardless of the veracity of that position.

And yet, seemingly discontent that she had not drawn enough ire, Omar continued firing. She questioned the purported dual loyalty of those Americans who support the state of Israel, while also making claim that the beloved former President Obama is actually not all that different from the reviled current President Trump.

In short, the initial (mostly) innocuous statements about the United States' relation with Israel have been supplanted by increasingly bizarre (and unnecessary) postulations.

Those latest two controversies I find most egregious. Questioning the loyalty of an American citizen for espousing support for a heavily persecuted world religion and in defense of a refuge for practitioners of that self-same religion that has existed as an independent state since 1948, seems, in really no uncertain terms, anti-Semitic.

After all, is it not her own party that so adamantly supports persecuted Palestinians in the very same region? Is it not she and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (who is not without her own streak of anti-Semitic controversy) that have rejected challenges to their own loyalty in being ethnically Somali and Palestinian respectively? Is her claim not akin to the "racist" demands that Obama produce proof of his birth in the United States, and the more concrete racism that asserted he truly was not? And (if you care to reach back so far) can her statement not be equated to suggestions that President John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the Vatican as the first (and to date only) Catholic to hold the presidency?

From what I can discern amongst her commentary, in Omar's mind, the rules that apply to her framework on race, ethnicity, religion, and culture as sacred idols above reproach do not extend to her Jewish contemporaries.

Oh, and may I remind you that over 70% of Jewish Americans voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.

And yet, beyond even this hypocrisy, is the strange disdain Omar suddenly seems to hold for Barack Obama. Even as a non-Democrat, while I can find reason for this, it is still largely perplexing.

To begin with, I recognize that Ilhan Omar is not your prototypical Democrat. She would scoff at being termed a moderate, and likely would do the same to being labeled a traditional liberal. While she doesn't identify as an outright democratic socialist, one would have to be totally clueless to avoid putting her in the company of those who do, such as Tlaib or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

As such, she's bound to have some critical evaluations of President Obama, despite the lionizing that the Democratic establishment has and continues to engage in. Two points still stick out to me as obvious incongruities in her statement, however.

First, Obama and Trump are nothing alike. Again, this coming from someone who does not regularly support either, I can at least attempt to claim objectivity. While Obama might not have been faithful to all the demands of the far-left during his presidency, his position on the political spectrum was far from the extreme bent that Trump has ventured into.

Secondly, there is the style of the two men to consider. While Obama had his share of goofs and gaffes (I still think it somewhat juvenile that he often refused to say "radical Islamic terrorism" when referring to Islamist extremists) he pales in comparison to Trump. Every week Trump has his foot caught in a new bear trap. Obama is enormously tame in comparison.

And in addition to all of that, one must beg the question of Omar's timing. With Republicans emboldened by her controversies and House Democratic leadership attempting to soothe the masses, why would Omar strike out at what's largely a popular figure for those that support her most? There seemed no motivation for the commentary and no salient reasoning to back it up, save that Omar wanted to speak her mind.

Such tactlessness is something that'll get you politically killed.

I do not believe Barack Obama was a great president, but that's not entirely important. I don't live in Ilhan Omar's district; her constituents believe Obama was a great president, and that should at least factor into her considerations. Or maybe she did weigh the negative value of such backlash and decided it wouldn't matter? 2019 isn't an election year, after all. Yet, even if that's the case, what's to gain by pissing off your superiors when they're already pissed off at you?

You need to pick your battles wisely in order to win the war, and I'm highly doubtful Omar will win any wars by pitching scorched-earth tactics over such minute concerns.

Her attitude reminds me not only of that of some of her colleagues engaging obtusely and unwisely over subjects that could best be shrugged off (see the AOC media controversies), but also some of my own acquaintances. They believe not only in the myth of their own infallibility, but the opposition bogeyman conjured by their status in a minority or marginalized group. As the logic goes, "I'm a member of x group, and being so gives me the right to decimate anyone who has any inclination to stand against me in any capacity, tit for tat." So much for civility.

I initially came here to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar, and I still do hold to that in certain cases. The opposition to some of her positions is unwarranted. She is allotted the freedom of speech, as are all Americans.

And yet, in certain other cases she has conducted herself brashly, and, one could argue, anti-Semitically.

All I can say is that I am content living adjacent to Minneapolis, not in it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me advocating for leadership that makes manifest in such impolitic fashion.

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