I remember the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States like it was yesterday.
It was a day that America and its colonial outposts will never forget. Our imperial nation was attacked, thousands died, and the aviation system shut down. Osama Bin Laden was successful at orchestrating, funding and overseeing a major terrorist action against the United States as thousands of innocents passed because of his desire to kill Americans.
Additionally, on 9/11, thousands of Chamorros were scattered throughout the globe, living in places spanning from Barrigada, Guam to Seoul, Korea, to Rota, Spain, going about their business wearing a federal uniform of some sort, bearing the insignia of the United States of America.
The uniform may have been green, white, kaki, blue or something else, but the common thread was that all who wore the garments that day, wore the colors of the United States as they went about performing national public/military service across the globe.
When the U.S. was attacked, it was nighttime in the Marianas, and it also turned out to be anything but a typical September night and following day for island residents.
On September 11th, hundreds of our Chamorro Pacific Islanders were working in their offices located at the Pentagon, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and/or in the New York City region when the attacks took place.
Hundreds of Chamorros were also working in various locations in the East Coast, Hawaii, and everywhere in-between, supporting the broader American national security community, serving as civilian contractors, subcontractors, federal government civilians or private sector employees or executives.
Whether we really realize it or not, our Chamorro people have wholeheartedly and completely supported and excelled working and serving in the broader U.S. national security ecosystem up through today, at levels that are arguably disproportionate to our total ancient Pacific Islander population headcount, despite living or coming from a Pacific Island colony of immense military value.
Why we must never forget
There are many reasons why it is in our collective Pacific Islander interest to never forget about 9/11.
For starters, we are connected at the hip either directly or indirectly through family ties with the American national security community. Many of our families and friends serve in the military and/or work in local and national public service jobs that relate to the military. Many of these same families have served the United States for over two or three generations.
A second reason why we should never forget the horrors of 9/11 is that China and the United States, both superpowers by several units of measure, continue to engage in ways that are at once complimentary, coercive, risky, interconnected, and conflictual.
This becomes highly problematic because our Mariana Islands chain is at the center of a broader key strategic geographic area of the world that has very high military importance to both China and the United States. If hot war ever broke out, our islands would be at very high risk of attack from China.
A third reason why we should never forget the horrors of 9/11 is that human suffering that took place that day was massive. Its effects continue to linger up to the present. In addition, several Chamorros and Mariana Islands residents have died in combat since the war on terror began, and many Pacific Islander families have suffered greatly from these additional casualties of war.
Additional insights on 9/11
Since 9/11, the United States has been at war. Thousands died or were injured. The aggregate cost to fight this long war has surpassed $7 trillion dollars.
Now America is focused on the Asia Pacific region— our region of the world.
Since 9/11, Chamorros have achieved milestones within the national security community as our friends or family members were promoted to the general officer, flag officer, senior executive service, senior intelligence service, and secretariat ranks throughout the U.S. government.
This is a big deal even though it is hardly discussed in the public square. During this time, Chamorros also served in the defense contracting world, going overseas to take on very dangerous assignments as private sector employees.
As a people, Chamorros will continue to engage in public service in ways that help protect the American imperial experiment. What we have to lose now, is literally our island chain should the U.S. and China go to war. Miscalculation can easily occur, and this can in turn lead to a host of situations that create the conditions which could lead to limited hot war or worse, World War Three. If this ever happens, we need to prepare for the worst.