September 11, 2001: Thirteen Years Later

Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of the World Trade Center Attacks. I believe that if there’s a single day in modern history that marked the loss of innocence for my generation, the millennial generation, it’s definitely the day now known as ‘9/11’. Or at least, this is what should be clear to most people who consider themselves informed. What’s more true, however, is that everyone has been affected by 9/11; whether we’re aware of it or not, history binds each citizen of the world to another, indefinitely.

In 2014, neither the U.S nor the world is actually any safer following the ‘war on terror’ declared by then President Bush on September 11, 2001. In fact, not only is the U.S still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention Pakistan, Yemen, and–in a matter of days–Syria and more), but it is also still mired in a spiritual and political crisis from within, as war abroad is intrinsic with war on a domestic level.

Simply put: as long as unchecked privilege, prejudice, and ignorance continue to inform the decisions made within our governments, and within our schools and universities, and within the work environments that we’re a part of, we will continue to lose our way from the common humanity that brought so many people of this country together on that tragic morning.

Rather than just commemorating 9/11 for the sake of entertaining patriotism, then, we should lend our attention to what is still lacking in our policies toward human rights both in the U.S. and around the world. In doing so, we can finally move from working against one another to working with one another. This, I believe, is the only true way to honor each life lost since that day, and each life that’s still being lost to war, bigotry, and the countless other brutalities we inflict on one another in the name of civilization.

We can do it. If we are honest enough with ourselves about how far we’ve come and how far we’ve still got to go as a nation and global community, we can still be more civilized, righteous, and whole. Of course, it’s not just difficult to take a critical look at ourselves and one another, it can be one of the most difficult things of all.

But if on the morning of that terrible September day there were enough heroes who gave their lives to help their fellow men and women in need, surely there are still enough of them left to take a moment for others today, none of whom are tougher, nor smarter, nor better in any way than those before them, but whom are just as human instead.

Author: J.T.

JIMBO TIMES is about the heart of a nation, which begins with the heart of a woman. It was the 1980s, and hailing from the dusty trails of her pueblo of San Pedro in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, my mom crossed over 2,000 miles to find work as a garment laborer in downtown Los Angeles. Shortly afterwards, she met my father. He had just escaped from a civil war in El Salvador and was working as a handyman for an apartment complex in East Hollywood. They were both in their mid-twenties when they met, and in 1989, they married to give birth to me and my brother, respectively. Ten years later, before my brother and I became teenagers, my father left. Heartbroken, but not overcome, my mom didn’t remarry, but chose instead to raise us on her own. It wasn’t the first time she had to start over. When mom was in the sixth grade, her father —a tradesman of el pueblo — was shot and killed by a jealous ex business partner. As the oldest of nine siblings, mom left school in order to take care of her brothers and sisters. She helped raise them alongside my grandmother for the next ten years, after which she'd leave for L.A. Today Mom's resilience is mine, which flows through JIMBO TIMES: a dedication to her and Los Angeles. J.T.

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