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Updated on September 17, 2012


You know many good people lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I think it is important for us to be forever reverent in our remembrance of them. For some, they literally gave their lives. They very consciously sacrificed their lives trying to save others. That's not to discount those who were instantly killed or who died desperately trying to survive the impossible.

I have visited New York twice since that fateful day. I was impressed both times by the emotion in New Yorkers' voices and faces when they talk about that day. They are truly a changed people because of the event. I think they are a gentler people.

So what I have to say in my blog are all reflections. Some may call it playing Monday morning quarterback. But I think when it comes to events like September 11, we all need to play Monday Morning quarterback. Perhaps it is our duty and responsibility.





Is it still difficult for you to comprehend that a relatively small band, and a not particularly fearsome band of terrorist, were able to reek so much havoc on our country in literally four fell swoops, three successful and one failure?

It certainly is for me. In fact, it is inexplicable, and I have always wanted answers. How were they so successful? I mean, come on, how many banditos were there all together? Certainly not that many, and obviously one plane load of passengers considered it worth their while to take them on.

AND, how did they float so easily through security at the airports? Even back then, as I remember airport security, it was not a lick and a promise. I remember in 1996, when boarding a plane in San Francisco, having to warn a friend that this was no joking matter and not to mess around.

So what happened that fateful September 11?

Well, I googled the question, and it seems that many of the terrorists actually set off alarms, but were subsequently allowed to proceed. Explanation: In those days, whatever it was they were carrying was not considered a serious weapon. So hopefully we have learned. It nevertheless gives me the absolute jitters to know that these guys were actually stopped because of the "weapons" they were carrying, but allowed to continue on to the boarding area. It's just inexplicable.


This was not the first attempt on the World Trade Center. Were we naive in thinking they would not try again? I know, it is definitely Monday morning quarterbacking. But we've got to be asking these questions for the future.

Likewise, will they attempt to breach airport security again? YES. Will we be more thoughtful the next time? Hopefully.

I mean I unknowningly went through the metal detector with a penny stuck to the bottom of my foot some years after September 11, and I thought the screener was going to kill me. The penny was tucked right inside my arch and held in place by my sock. I was never aware that it was there. Must have "picked it up" somehow when I was walking around the bedroom barefoot that morning. I don't know. It was truly weird, and very embarrassing. The screener was so angry that he took the penny and threw it as far as he could throw it across the screening area.

I hope that kind of tight security represents our airports across the country and around the world.


As long as we focus on September 11 as an act of extreme Muslim terrorism, then it is THEM against US, and we don't have to take any responsibility for setting ourselves up to be attacked. Yes, you read correctly. We both taunt terrorists and invite terrorists.

I know this must fly in the face of patriotism for many of you, but we need to practice patriotism in a way that is different from the terrorists! Otherwise, we are ALL terrorists representing different ideologies and hell-bent on our ideology coming out on top, being winners, and everyone else being losers. And since all patriotic folks, terrorists included, tend to see God on their side, patriotic folks tend to justify every and anything they do.

I want to propose to you that, as a nation, we tend to be narcissistic. Narcissistic folks see themselves as perfect, as all powerful, untouchable, and having the right to do whatever they damned well please no matter what feedback they get from the community at large. For a more in-depth discussion of Narcissism as it applies here, check out Narcissism Meets Terrorism.

In that discussion about narcissism and terrorism, it points out that narcissists are not full of themselves as we typically think, but rather EMPTY on the inside and are consequently driven to make sure other people are reflecting back or mirroring for them just how great and how wonderful and how invincible they are. Really? Yes, really!

And, when people or the environment fail them, they become enraged and will do whatever it takes to destroy the people, places, and things that are not good mirrors. It's a sad character disorder to be plagued with. Sad that our country is plagued with this character disorder as a nation.

One remedy to our narcissism is humility. I did not say weakness. I am not suggesting we become isolationist. I am simply suggesting we become humble, and perhaps much quieter in the world community. In martial arts, there is a wonderful principle for us to learn. The most powerful power is unused power, and you could further translate that into unspoken power or silent power.

Some of you will insist that the spread of democracy and freedom rests on our shoulders. If that is true, it is a sad state of affairs and says nothing about the capabilities of ALL the other democratic countries, and again simply makes us out to be narcissists. Democracy and freedom for the world cannot rest on our shoulders. We just are not that great to carry such a burden nor is any other country.

As citizens, we can begin practicing humility by studying our history and learning all the dirty secrets about our country, so we stop living under the illusion that we are this great country which we are, but simultaneously are not. For example, has it ever crossed your mind that perhaps the only war this country has ever won was the Revolutionary war? Think about it.

Do you know, for example, and do you even care, why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor? Google the question and begin learning the oily details. Yes, the quest for oil has plagued all countries, including our own, for way too long.

So the question is, why do we feel empty inside our national soul? Why are we unwise enough to continue to respond with vengeance as if vengeance is necessary? Vengeance and misguided motivation to go to war, to sacrifice our children to the gods of war, has costs us dearly from the very beginning. We like to think, "Well, it is the price of freedom." I would like us to begin thinking. Yes thinking. Is it the price of freedom or is it the price of narcissism? Is it the price of being compelled to think we are untouchable and fooling ourselves into thinking we are untouchable?


It is humbling for us to admit, but every war we have fought, besides the Revolutionary War, has been a Pyrrhic victory. I mean, come on, we did not stop Hitler. He managed to wipe out six million Jews. I think when we can be humble enough to admit that since 1776, freedom is not what has driven us into war, but rather Narcissism, then we might begin to become the world power that we can be and hopefully will be.

Our government may never have the humility to be humble. So it is up to us as citizens as it should be. So, KNOW OUR HISTORY. Know the facts. Know why we have gone to war. Know the price, the costs, we have paid and continue to pay.

There is a "wonderful" line at the end of the movie, Witness. John Book emotionally bellows at his boss, "IT'S OVER, ENOUGH! ENOUGH!

Those words can be ours, and we can begin to support our country as a whole to shift gears, and to stop attracting terrorists' attacks on our soil.



Do you think our country tends to be narcissistic?

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    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      I love working with teens who want to negotiate everything. I love playing stupid and crazy and I ask the wildest questions about their desires to bend or break or do away with rules. There's that rule, Don't Take Anything Personal. I work hard to apply that for myself when working with teens and I have a blast. And they actually come back for more. Kind of a combo of stand up comic and Columbo. Anywho, sounds like you are doing a great job handling shituations to post puberty!

      You're a good Mom. I can tell just by the way you write about it.


    • crazymom3 profile image


      6 years ago

      Lol, my kids do think I'm a little crazy sometimes, but that's ok they make me that way. I'm stuck between a toddler potty training, a teen who thinks "conflict resolution" should apply to my house rules and an adhd 6 year old going on 20. In all that crazyness, I managed to watch that movie about angels and miracles. Inspiration holds me together. Hope you find it. it may be called 12 miracles.

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Thanks Crazymom3 for reading and commenting. Not sure I feel comfortable writing your user name! Makes me feel like I'm a teenager upset with my Mom!! I imagine you do a wonder filled job as a Mom.

      It certainly was a heart breaking event, actually still is.

      Thanks for the info about the movie. I enjoy movies and will keep my eye out for it.

      I think we can prevent a repeat, and as I write that, perhaps I have to practice some humility as mentioned above and realize that maybe we won't be able to. Sad. Any rate, I think there is a lot that each of us can do in our day to day living and thinking which then gets translated into what bangwagons we get on and not get on to use our voting power to influence the thinking of our leaders.

      Again, thanks for reading and commenting.


    • crazymom3 profile image


      6 years ago

      It It was a heart breaking event. There is a movie on netflix about the miracles that happenned that day. I would recomend it. Search miracles. As to patriotism, narcicism, etc. I wont comment. It happenned nothing that will ever change that, and hopefully it will never happen again.

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Thanks for reading Mellonyy and the feedback and for sharing. It is obviously a complex "issue," but we gotta learn one of these days, I hope. I have not been a history buff over the years, but I am beginning to appreciate a little or lot of historical research. It gives such a context to so many different events that at the time, for whatever reason, no one sees or cares to see. Hind sight as they say.

      I will never forget the day either, and visiting the sight afterwards is quite moving, made me think a lot.



    • Mellonyy profile image


      6 years ago

      I will never forget this day as long as I live, Vern! Completely agree with you that, "The most powerful power is unused power"- all politicians should follow closely this valuable rule not to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Awesome topic! Shared!

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Thank you SassySue for commenting and for your insights. Each of us needs to take the time to look at this issue and mull it over, and come up with as many different perspectives as possible. So thank you.

      To clarify, I am not against the use of force by our country. I only think there have been times in the history of our country when we have used force to no avail. And maybe "back when," we honestly did not know or realize that there are other options and solutions, so it's not a blame game.

      I always think of the Berlin Wall and the way it just came down, perhaps by the sheer will of the people on both sides of the wall. They decided "it's over...enough...enough."

      Ironically, as devastating as September 11 was, people did respond heroically, and I think we were able to get beyond our narcissism and come together as a nation of real people in a very patriotic and admirable way.

      However, I think our response of declaring war on terrorism by invading Iraq and Afghanistan was a huge miscalculation and not well thought out. We totally ignored history and our prior experiences in Viet Nam and North Korea. Worse, we totally ignored the culture clash. Examining that alone would have told us there was no way to win anything in either place and that it would end up being a self defeating adventure. We were not looking out for the best interest of our country, but simply reacting from our narcissistic position of "no one can strike us and get away with it." Our military response to terror by invading Iraq and Afghanistan was/is archaic and primitive and speaks poorly of the greatness of this nation. We are so much more intelligent and capable than that. I think of the great showdown between Kennedy and Khrushchev and glad that we somehow decided to go with restraint and "magic" rather than military force. We are so much more than our prowess, so much more. I hope one day, as a nation, we get that.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Every country is narcissistic and yes, they have good reason to be. If you think anyone else is going to look out for our interests you are sadly mistaken.

      As for Hitler, we didn't stop him? No we were too late for those six million Jews, but how many more do you think would have died?

      How do you propose we "flex our muscles" and what good is it if we are not willing to back up the flexing of our muscles with actual force if it becomes necessary?

      On September 11th itself, it was actually 19 hijackers between 4 planes. It wasn't so much their "power" but the policies in place regarding hijackings. They were told to cooperate with hijackers and let those on the ground negotiate because usually hijackers wanted to land the plane and make demands. It had never been a suicide mission as these were. Remember as well that no airline employees were armed at this time.

      All those innocents who died on this day were heroes in my mind. Not just those on Flight 93.


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