As the anniversary of 9/11 arrives and then leaves, people reflect on the lessons of 9/11. What specifically are those lessons? "There are people out there who wish to do us harm" is an oft used answer, and an accurate one. "That we should defend ourselves from them" is the same. "That there are consequences to our policies in the Middle East that result in people wanting to do us harm" is not a common answer to the question, although it should be.
Some of the lessons of 9/11 were learned. Others were mis-learned, which caused people to exacerbate the policies that led to the attack in the first place. Objecting to those policies has caused people to say "Have you learned nothing from 9/11? Do you want the terrorists to win?" That is not the lesson of 9/11.
The lessons of 9/11 are important. So are the lessons of 9/12.
What are the lessons of 9/12? That life goes on. The earth continued its spin on its axis as it continued to orbit the sun. People continued to wake up in the morning, go to work, come home in the evening, and then go back to bed. Life goes on.
Another lesson of 9/12 is that because life goes on, we have time to calm down and make rational decisions based upon traumatic events that happened in the past. For some it takes longer to get over trauma than others, but in all cases passions subside and thought can take over.
Taking the time to recover so that we can think clearly instead of simply reacting emotionally, we can come up with ways to make ourselves safer from terrorists. Learning the lessons of "blowback" would be a great place to start. It is not "blaming the US" or "wanting the terrorists to win" (both emotional responses) to change any actions of ours that might have caused or contributed to 9/11.
Few people have learned the lessons of 9/12. The existence of the War on Terror and the Department of Homeland Security are a testament to some people never leaving that day. For them life did not go on, they are stuck in one moment. They never learned that it is possible to move on and think clearly about what happened.
It is time for everyone to learn the lessons of 9/12. It is time to get rid of the DHS and end the War on Terror, because it is no longer 9/11/2001. It hasn’t been 9/11/2001 in a very long time.