When the World Trade Towers were bombed I was devastated because of the thousands of people who were murdered. We had never experienced anything like this here. I didn’t eat for a week. Part of the landscape of my backyard had been destroyed. Even all the way up from where I was in Harlem that morning, I could see black clouds surrounding the towers.
Later that day, going back to uptown Manhattan where I lived, I trudged by foot for a few miles with hordes of people, because there was no public transportation. We were surrounded by The National Guard and their automatic weapons. The air was tight. When and where would the other shoe drop? The towers were destroyed and thousands of people on the island had been killed. We weren’t ‘safe’ here anymore.
I had become attached to the iconic image of the towers as part of the island that I grew up on. Shortly after, on a flight coming into New York, looking at lower Manhattan and the absence of the towers, I turned away and squinted to keep back tears.
“How dare those motherfuckers come here and blow up the World Trade Towers!” My father had said. It was disorienting for me to feel so angry in agreement, since the World Trade Towers represented big business, dirty dealings and everything opposed to what I was about. (And in some circles, there is still debate on exactly who those ‘motherfuckers’ are.)
On the night of September 11th, hearing the people chant USA, USA! outside my window, I experienced a shiver of adrenaline and felt further impassioned in my love for my country.
How could I not be in love? As a child of this country, I was weaned on the ideal fueling trail blazers and freedom fighters for almost every conceivable cause. I have roots in the south here, and my ancestors were slaves. I am proud of my people for their resilience and ingenuity with this adversity. While I am also proud of my African roots, today, as part of the black race, I share a national identity that begins here, in the United States of America.
Despite the fall-out because of the history of slavery, and problems arising from the coming together of all of the different types of people here for freedom, with this country’s history and fortitude, I believe that we have the power to transform ourselves into the leaders in even greater areas.
I don’t usually make comparisons between what it used to be like in this country, and how much better it used to be, because I am black and have segregation and slavery in the past. But also I don’t look at ‘now’ as necessarily good or bad in comparison to any previous time, because life is just all a process.
Perhaps part of the process began with the surge of people moving from continent to continent with technology so that we could get to the point we are now, merged more closely together. The United States has been the pioneer in thought and technology in the past. With this dynamic history, and with more effective communication between the people all over the world, I believe we could develop an even greater ideal to supplant the materialism that has dominated our culture.
I know this is weird but okay, now, this song, well, yes — I’ve always loved it because of the genre — most people know I’m a hardcore fan. I like this song despite some of the implications, plus, I was just a huge fool of a fan of Peter Steele. He was young when he wrote this, so, factor that in — ha! My appreciation of this song has probably to do with the weird-ass eclectic tastes I developed here as an American — it’s kind of the same way I love that song Sweet Home Alabama: