We've just been inundated with an excessive glut of homilies and replays of that fateful day 10 years ago. Some anniversaries, both good and bad, have a way of doing that.
But 9/11 has been seared into the nation's conscience in the same way December 7, 1941 was for a former generation. Our response to that attack was our engagement in W.W.II, a necessary war to vanquish not only the imperial Japanese empire but also the Nazi fascist menace on the other side of the Atlantic.
Only 9/11 wasn't an attack by an imperial power capable of and with intentions for world domination, (despite at the time the fantasy of one Osama bin Laden and his death to America histrionics). No; terrorists flying commercial airliners into two commercial buildings and the Pentagon does not measure up or equivocate with Imperial Japan's attack, though Bush's global "war on terror" brought a similar response.
Only this time the reality of an attack on American soil resulted in a reactionary, impulsive and distorted rush to war against an enemy, al Qaeda in sanctuary in Afghanistan, and 2 - years later a pre-emptive invasion of a country (Iraq) that had no connection and nothing to do with the perpetrators that committed those heinous acts on that fateful day in September, 2001.
Thus began our flight from and denial of reality that continues to this day.
That is the true legacy of 9/11.
When threats become magnified beyond what they truly are and the response to those threats are so out of proportion to their actual menace, reality has been replaced with an imagined conjured threat that has no basis in fact.
In a person such behavior would be considered deranged, schizophrenic and insane.
When it's a nation exhibiting those symptoms, it's a nation that has lost its way, a flailing giant that is dangerous to other nations and its people.
Domestically, it's a nation that has become supremely dysfunctional, particularly when its leader compromises and appeases with those who conjure other "threats" that do not conform with reality i.e. the debt crisis, the president is a Muslim, wasn't born in this country, "Sharia" law is about to replace the nations rule of law, we've become a "socialist" country et al. It's also those who believe in unfettered laissez-faire capitalism with no regulations is good, government is the problem, all taxation is bad, social security is a "ponzi" scheme (the latest illogical witticism from GOP front runner, Governor Rick Perry of Texas), not to mention global warming doesn't exist, evolution is debatable, we're a Christian nation, homosexuality is a sin and same sex marriage threatens the marriage of a man and a woman, the apocalypse and Armageddon is near with the second coming of Christ, on and on, ad infinitum.
So much magical, fantasy thinking divorced from reality yet with so much resonance. The question becomes; when has reality been so divorced from and in denial as it is today in America?
At times it all seems unrecognizable; a bad dream. Is this really happening?