Opinion » Editorial


Making sure terrorists don't leave a legacy



I admit my palms were sweaty.

I turned in my car seat to face the rear of our truck, ready to brief the kids on what to say and what not to say.

And then I stopped.

"What," I asked myself was I worried about?

We are a family of four Canadians going camping to the U.S., a nation we consider our friend and ally, so why was I so nervous?

As a university student, and for some years after, I used to travel occasionally to the U.S. with my sister and her husband's family to enjoy a lake-front cottage they had. My memories of those trips are filled with relaxed border crossings - even the knowing wink of a border guard who knew we had too much cheese in our shopping as we headed home.

But those days are just memories and when I ponder as to why there is only one answer - 9/11.

Like almost everyone else I can remember clearly the horror of watching the planes plough into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York ten years ago.

I remember cradling my baby and knowing that life would never be the same again.

For this generation the attacks on New York, Washington and the skies over Pennsylvania are a marker in history like Pearl Harbor - the beginning of a new way of looking at our lives. The difference here though, of course, was the attack was on civilians not military making the impact on the psyche worse in many ways.

The death toll was more than 3,000. And reports in the most recent Lancet medical journal reveal that: "...nine years after the 9/11 WTC attacks, rescue and recovery workers continue to have a substantial burden of physical and mental health problems."

While the attacks did not stop me travelling it changed the whole experience forever. "Fun" is no longer a word I would ever use to describe travel. Now "travel" is about the hassle of getting to the place where you want to have fun.

For determined travellers it's just a fact of life. But for occasional travellers the experience at an airport, the invasion of personal space, the fear of being picked on for further scrutiny all add up to a good reason to just vacation "at home."

And as Whistler can attest to it is having a serious impact on our economy.

There is no escaping the fact that Canada relies on the U.S. economy to maintain its elevated standard of living, while for America our nation's contribution economically is not really a determining factor in its success.

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