From the ashes of the worse terrorist attack on America’s soil has risen One World Trade Center, a marvel of glass and steel that towers over the memorial where once stood the Twin Towers.
It’s taken 11 years for this marvel to reach the heights attained by the behemoths that once stood there, and a lot has happened since Sept. 11. Much of it has been a story of sacrifice.
It’s been 10 years running now that we have had troops in Afghanistan, America’s longest war, which has taken the lives of more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers and its allies. More than 16,000 soldiers have been wounded.
Nearly 12,000 Afghan civilians have been killed since 2007, when the United Nations first started counting up the toll.
And then there’s Iraq.
More than 4,800 coalition forces died in that ill-advised war. More than 32,000 American troops were wounded in Iraq.
Depending on who is doing the counting, about 100,000 Iraqi civilians died in that conflict.
And, of course, there were the more-than-3,000 people who died on Sept. 11.
Though the cost of the wars, the cleanup and rebuilding at Ground Zero and the establishment of the security state can’t be measured, it’s surely in the trillions of dollars.
But the treasure expended can’t compare to the human potential that has been lost since that day. Though insurance adjusters say they can put a price tag on a human life,
It’s not enough to think about the costs of the attacks on Sept. 11 just once a year.
It should be on our minds everyday. The thought shouldn’t be like a weight dragging us down or spurring us to vengeance. But it should be a remembrance of that horrible day and of all the horrible days that followed.
Yes, in a number of ways, we triumphed, but those triumphs had a cost. It would behoove us not to forget.