Memorialize 9/11 by being more awesome

It's the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks against the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and an innocent field in the middle of nowhere. Somewhere, there's a memorial service going on. Somewhere, someone's still applauding Clint Eastwood for blaming Barack Obama for sending troops to Afghanistan, which actually happened in December of 2001, during George W. Bush's first year in office, in the wake of those attacks. Somewhere – a lot of somewheres, actually – someone is crying for a lost family member, friend, or stranger who died that day. And somewhere, someone at a law enforcement agency is taking credit for stopping a terrorist plot set for the anniversary that may or may not have actually been in the works (it's tough when "success" means that nothing happened).

These are all fine ways to remember 9/11. Except the Clint Eastwood thing. That was just weird.

But a lot of people forget something else that happened immediately after the planes hit the towers that Tuesday morning. A lot of young people – the supposedly disengaged, video game generation, the first to grow up with the Internet in their homes and so supposedly with no real ability to connect with other humans face to face – became part of something bigger. They stood up and joined the military, said "never again" and went off to fight Bush's battles in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another group of the same generation picked up signs and joined their elders on picket lines and in getting arrested for the sake of peace – don't go off killing the vast majority of people in those countries who had absolutely nothing to do with any of it.

People got engaged. They made changes in their lives. And some people even started living like it could happen again, to them, and they were going to achieve their dreams so that if it did happen tomorrow, they'd be able to say they'd lived out those dreams.

And now we're back to moments of silence and the two-party blame game, and we're pretty much just sitting or standing around being armchair citizens and Monday morning political quarterbacks and we're just the same group of people who got attacked 11 years ago. Only more paranoid.

It's time to get back to living our dreams, to creating things, to being more awesome. Will that make people dislike us again? Probably, but if you're going to be hated, make it because people are jealous, not because you're stupid or lazy or disengaged. Today, get ready to do something amazing, because tomorrow, someone might fly a plane into your desk.


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