This article originally appeared in USA Today:
Sept 11, 2001, the day that defined a decade, was followed by many red letter dates. On Oct. 7, 2001, U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan. Baghdad fell April 9, 2003. We remember when Saddam Hussein was caught (12/13/03) and Osama bin Laden was killed (5/2/11). (Terrorists hit Madrid 3/11/04, and London 7/7/05.)
But the decade since 9/11 also has a less obvious calendar of dates when history pivoted while we weren’t looking.
This calendar is made up of hidden, overlooked, misunderstood, private or secret events, each related directly or indirectly to the attacks. Its dates, momentous and trivial, have shaped the nation in ways large and small.
MORE: How 9/11 changed America
On this calendar, important things happen behind closed doors or off stage or otherwise out of sight. If perceived, they aren’t fully appreciated or aren’t what they seem.
Who remembers what occurred Oct. 2, 2002, that helped Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama become a U.S. senator and then president? And who on the Sunday after 9/11 knew that one of hundreds of thousands of sermons preached that day would nearly derail Obama’s presidential campaign six years later?
What connects 9/11 to the Tiger Woods scandal? How did the 9/11 widow-advocates known as the “Jersey Girls” first meet? Whose idea was it to replace Take Me out to the Ballgame with God Bless America at the ballpark? To start referring to our “homeland”?
Marked on the calendar are the days when Pat Tillman, NFL star, decides to go to war as a grunt, and when Kenneth Feinberg, Democrat, tries to become the Republican administration’s man to determine the worth of a loss on 9/11.
There is the first mission of a confederation of military vet bikers known as the Patriot Guard Riders, and the Iraq War‘s first roadside bomb.
On this calendar, a soon-to-be whistle-blower is a tell-them-nothing press spokeswoman. A plan to build…(read more)