Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Odd Mix of Reality and Fantasy on This Day

It's been a long while since I really immersed myself in the events of September 11, 2001. I daresay that was my generation's "Kennedy Assassination," in that long-term, never-go-away sense of tragedy that defines a moment in time forever.

For reasons I can't quite explain, I felt compelled to look up old footage from that day, right down to watching and listening to CNN's original broadcast from right before the news broke that the first tower had been hit all the way through the report of the crash of Flight 93. I let myself relive the horror, shock, and (yes, I will admit it, though I wonder how many others will) excitement over something so spectacularly huge happening.

Don't get me wrong - there's guilt associated with that excitement. It's not like I enjoyed what happened; far from it, my tears ran freely that day, my anger swelled to great wrath as I came to grips that we had been attacked that way, and each and every report and image of someone plummeting from the Towers made me deeply sick and horrified inside.

At the same time, those of us who were not affected, but thought we could be (I worked in a high-rise office building in downtown Atlanta at the time this all happened) got that adrenaline shot that set our imaginations off in all kinds of directions. "It could happen here!" Evacuations of the downtown area ramped up all those emotions and imaginings as well.

So, there it was... excitement. The thrill that Evil had struck and Good would have to Do Something About It.

Watching it all in retrospect, I made myself analyze my feelings. I wasn't there. I wasn't experiencing the absolute terror and fear and trauma that the folks directly affected were. As such, my emotions had the free reign to wander to other territories - to look at the whole thing from a few paces removed, and project the outcomes and the necessary following acts.

It's important to note at this point that, all the while I watched that vintage footage today, I've been working on an adventure for someone, set in an alternate modern day earth where highly skilled secret agents are going to be sent in to deal with terrorists of a different sort. Yet the ultimate goal remains the same - go be the Good Guys and get the Bad Guys.

Where am I going with this? I wasn't sure when I started writing it, but I think two conclusions can be drawn:

  1. The events of 9/11 changed everything, and just as promised, our world will never be the same because of them. It behooves us to remember the true horrors of that day, even as we question all of the actions that have been taken since then in the name of "Never Again."
  2. Gaming is one hell of a coping mechanism! We can express our desires for justice and vengeance in a relatively pure and satisfying way, even when our real world denies us such things utterly.
So, that's all I have. Mostly, just sharing my day with you, but if there's something of value to consider, that's cool, too.

If you chose to remember, I hope you found something in the act of doing so. 

If you chose to just get on with your life, that's cool, too.

Here's looking forward to tomorrow.


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