The sister of Glen Doherty, the Navy SEAL killed while trying to protect Ambassador Chris Stevens (who was also killed) during the attack on the American embassy in Libya this week, has said she wasn't expecting her brother to be "another victim of 9/11." And yet it's looking as if Doherty and the three others who died, including Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and another as-yet-unnamed American, are victims of 9/11 both literally and figuratively.
These men died on another 9/11, September 11, 2012, 11 years to the day after two planes flew into the World Trade Center. And their names could soon join the long list of men and women who have given their life for this country in the events that have come in the wake of the worst terrorist attack in our nation's history.
Because the death toll of 9/11 did not stop climbing after the last body was found that fall. Every member of our military who died in the war in Iraq, every member of our military who has died in Afghanistan ... they're all victims of 9/11, no matter the date on their death certificate.
Sadly these dots aren't always connected -- soldiers' lives that were lost aren't mourned the way we continue to grieve for those who died on that fall day more than a decade ago, a day when we as a nation came together as one. Perhaps it's because the deaths of our troops so far from home seem so distant. Perhaps it's because there are fewer deaths at one time -- unlike that huge, rising number of 9/11. Or maybe it's just that we are a nation easily distracted from what truly matters. Like magpies, we are drawn to shiny things, to Hollywood scandal, rather than to the news.
But as the American government investigates whether the attacks on the embassy this week were tied to 9/11 or to an anti-Muslim YouTube video, we're faced with imagery of men like Glen Doherty. They're heroes serving our country whose lives were ended suddenly and violently far away from home, and we're forced to address what we'd rather forget: the horrors of that day are not 11 years in our past, they continue to this day as our nation continues to deal with a world where people carry hate in their hearts and guns in their hands to wield against America.
Here's more on what the US government is saying about the attacks:
Do you think of these people as victims of 9/11?
Image via isafmedia/Flickr