I’ve grown up in two worlds. In September 2001, I was 16 years old. The 11th was a Tuesday, and my friend Cary had just turned around in his chair to ask me for a piece of paper, as usual. It was just after 8:00am in middle Tennessee, and first period Spanish was just coming to order. One of the secretaries in the office came over the PA system to tell us to turn on the news.
Watch TV during first period? Sure!
But what came on the TV set wasn’t entertainment, it was incomprehensible. Why was there black smoke coming out of the Twin Towers? Why did that plane just fly into that tower? Whoa. That tower just fell straight down.
That was the day we were all Americans. But that was also the day the world changed. Just one of those changes was travel, especially air travel. At that point, I had only ever traveled with my family within the US, and with my youth group to Canada and Mexico. I didn’t even have a passport. Little did I know just a few years later I’d be living a mere four miles away from the Pentagon, one of the impact point on 9/11.
Suddenly you can’t wish your loved ones goodbye at the last minute by airport gate. Security not only increases but becomes a foreboding task that involves basically disrobing and unpacking and then re-dressing and re-packing. People don’t know or don’t understand the new rules. In the coming years, people try to get through security with bombs in their underwear and shoes. They try to make bombs on planes using liquids they brought along. This is not the same world it was on September 10, 2001, and we will never live in that world again.
But people keep traveling. There is too much good in the world, too much beauty, too many oddities and exceptions, too many good people, too much history, too many interesting things to let people like Bin Laden, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups steal away our opportunities to explore the world.