A lot has changed, big and small, since 9-11

But the surprising thing during all the retrospection on the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy that we’ve been bombarded with over the last couple of weeks, I remember that’s when I started drinking coffee on a daily basis.

I never was much of a coffee drinker. Ask anyone around the Trail Times newsroom and they know I never drink it at work.

Even the coffee maker at home barely got used unless it was the weekend or we company.

But the surprising thing during all the retrospection on the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy that we’ve been bombarded with over the last couple of weeks, I remember that’s when I started drinking coffee on a daily basis.

Most of us remember where we were when an historical moment occurred. – the landing on the moon, the scenes of the Berlin Wall coming down, Paul Henderson’s scoring the winning goal in the Summit Series.

I remember crawling out of bed on Sept. 11, 2001 and grabbing some fruit and flicking on the TV. That’s when I first saw the destruction.

The fact that it was being broadcast right into our living rooms made it impossible to look away. I sat down on the couch for an hour watching the scene of terror unfold and decided to make a cup of coffee and watch some more.

The next day the coverage and fallout continued and I made another pot while I sat glued to the TV. It was like that again the next day.

Pretty much since then, my morning habit now includes a cup of coffee or two, still none at work, but it all began that September morning.

It was a small thing in the grand scheme of things really, but the minutia of it signifies how those events did change our lives in so many ways big and small.

Wars were raged, the economy was geared for military spending, the debate on civil rights took a new turn and the world in general became a different place, whether you had traveled it widely or not.

I remember the days after the attack how reporters were saying New Yorkers vowed to be nicer and more welcoming as the city came together amid chaos.

Those same reporters were also saying athletes should no longer be described as “heroes,” or “warriors,” when real heroes are firefighters and the real warriors were fighting for their country.

Lurid celebrity details were going to take a back seat to real news and real world concerns.

Leaders were going to address real issues and not trivial politicking.

Okay so maybe those things sadly crept back into society and we can’t shake those bad habits.

It’s a running gag on “Family Guy” that 9-11 changed everything, even though Peter Griffin didn’t know what 9-11 was until 2003.

However,  there’s no doubt life has changed.

Passports are now part of our travel gear, if you want to travel at all. You get them for your kids just like we used to get social insurance numbers as soon as possible.

Living so close to the border, most locals cross it on a regular basis. It’s not hard to see the growing presence of the American security force. Now crossing the border causes as much anxiety as seeing a police roadblock whether you’re guilty of something or not, the tension is there.

Anyone who has taken a flight to the States now knows the drill of shoe removal, bag searches, bottle restrictions and hardened looks by airport security personnel.

Billions of dollars have been spent and people’s rights have been abused all in the name of preventing another 9-11.

Governments continue to cut back on services but beef up bucks for security to fight terrorism.

However, the sad reality is that it can never truly be prevented.

Terror struck not just in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania that day, it struck throughout North America and we’re still feeling the ripples.

I wasn’t alive during the world wars and have no idea of the public mood when internment was forced upon Japanese and Italian citizens. But I do get a sense of the paranoia emanating for the 9-11 fallout.

To this day, many view Muslims with suspicion or watch a loner at the airport to see what he’s up to.

I look forward to the day when 9-11 isn’t used as a political tool and regarded more like Pearl Harbor, a turning point in American and world history. But Pearl Harbor was almost 70 years ago and the wound is still relatively fresh from 9-11.

I don’t expect to be giving up my morning coffee anytime soon just like I don’t expect the fallout from 9-11 to fade in the foreseeable future.

Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Daily Times.