What a different world we had 20 years ago

Looking at the calendar today, it is exactly one month from now our nation, our world, will pause to mark the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the worst single day in American history. That day, like Pearl Harbor, is a “day that will live in infamy,” some for all the wrong reasons, some for not so bad reasons.

No matter what, it’s almost impossible to think about just how much our lives have changed since that day. 

On Aug. 11, 2001, many of us could look out our windows, gaze east to the New York City skyline and see the two massive towers that once stood in Lower Manhattan. 

We took that view for granted, since the Twin Towers were there for so long. Yet today, even with a new 1 World Trade Center standing, it’s just nothing like it was before.

On Aug. 11, 2001, we could head over to Newark Airport, of JFK or LaGuardia, walk through a metal detector and board airplanes with very little hassle and certainly no need to kick off our shoes and have our entire body scanned by see-all cameras.

On Aug. 11, 2001, we all had a certain sense of invincibility, of pure safety, never dreaming Boeing 757s and 767s could or would ever be used as suicide missiles fired off by fundamentalist American-hating radicals.

On Aug. 11, 2001, we were all different and to this very day, most would probably say we’ve never been the same over the last 19 years, 11 months.

So as well approach this landmark anniversary, maybe this is a good time to think about all we’ve been through since our world changed so much. 

Are we better off today? Are we safer now than we were then? Have all these changes been for the better? 

No matter what you believe, there’s no doubt we’ve gone places we never thought were imaginable. And we should all hope and pray we never have to experience anything like that again. 

What a different world it was Aug. 11, 2001.

Do you miss that way of life?

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.