15 Years Later: 9/11 Attacks Have Left A Complicated Legacy

This Sunday, at 8:46 a.m. specifically, marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, when nearly 3,000 innocent people were killed by Al-Qaeda funded terrorists in New York City, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

So much has happened in the ensuing 5,480 days, some things good, some things bad, and often what has transpired has been a bit of both.

On one hand, the United States federal government became extremely proactive in its visible attempts to curtail international terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security was created. The FBI became a domestically focused national security and intelligence agency. There’s a more intense focus on immigration and refugee programs. Counterterrorism intelligence sharing has become more common and systematic. International financial controls of illicit funds have increased exponentially.

On the other hand, the same U.S. federal government dragged itself into expensive wars overseas with sometimes questionable end goals. Al-Qaeda, at the time the primary terrorist organization targeting the U.S. and targeted by the U.S., has been overshadowed by ISIL and its terrorist allies. On the domestic front, the Capitol Hill political landscape has transformed into a group of elected officials who are unable or unwilling to cross party lines and find middle ground on anything of importance to the American people. And the prospects for rediscovering bipartisan teamwork appears next to impossible, given the current battle to replace President Barack Obama next January.

But if there’s anything the American people still have on their side, despite all the negatives that are part of the daily lexicon, it’s hope. Hope that the political bickering will come to an end and the two major political parties will work together again in a respectful manner. Hope that the billions of dollars exhausted on anti-terrorism technology and weaponry has been well-spent. Hope that the United States makes wise and effective decisions on dealing with Middle East terrorist organizations, with equal hope we can bring our troops home unscathed.

Meanwhile, not a day goes by where there isn’t some 9/11 connection which takes place. For some, it may be a news story, or a song heard on the radio, or going through airport security on a business trip. There’s always something there to remind us, even if we have no such desire to remember that most significant moment in recent U.S. history.

But remember we must, and we do.

Locally, the Wellington Village Council will host a remembrance ceremony to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 5 p.m., at the Wellington Patriot Memorial (12198 W. Forest Hill Blvd.). Council members will make remarks and lay a wreath at the memorial.

The Patriot Memorial was dedicated five years ago, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and includes one of the largest steel beams salvaged from the World Trade Center, as well as an eternal flame fountain and etched glass panels inscribed with the names of the victims. If you haven’t visited it yet, make plans to do so. It is a unique place, both somber and hopeful, to ponder all that is both great and terrible in the challenging world we live in.