I KNOW THAT MY FEELINGS ARE NOT UNIQUE ON THIS SUBJECT AND I KNOW MUCH IS WRITTEN IN MEMORY OF 9/11...BUT I WANTED TO SHARE MY OWN THOUGHTS. THIS IS SOMETHING I WROTE 2 YEARS AGO, SO I APOLOGIZE IF IT IS RECYCLED TO YOU, BUT I FEEL JUST AS STRONGLY TODAY AS I DID WHEN I WROTE IT...
Today is nine eleven. 9/11. It's amazing how one day can change everything. It's been seven years and in so many ways it seems as though time stands still today and I am right back to that morning. That fateful morning. I still remember what I was doing, what I was wearing, where I was when I heard the news. At first I thought, as did everyone else, that it was an accident. But it wasn't long before it was realized that this was no accident. It was an intentional hit against America.
I couldn't wrap my head around that. I've never hated something or someone or someplace enough to kill one innocent person, let alone thousands of innocent bystanders. I can't fathom that. I don't think most of us can. Which, is a good thing, I suppose. I'm really reticent to believe that so many people are filled with a hatred that intense.
More than the small details of remembering what I was doing, where I was or what I was wearing, I remember my feelings. I remember being scared, being shell-shocked and more than anything, I remember feeling an overwhelming ache. I ached for the families that lost the ones closest to them. For so long, one of my biggest fears has been losing a parent or losing a sibling. I don't know how I would deal with it, or even IF I could deal with it. I thought of those families whose loved ones were on the planes. What terror did they experience in their last hour? How much did they know? I prayed that they lived in ignorance for as long as they could on that flight. Hoping, wishing that they lived with the terror for the smallest timeframe possible. I ached for the families that had a loved one in The World Trade Center. Knowing your loved one was in a building that got attacked, but still having a small bit of hope that they would be one of the few survivors. I imagine I would have been among those racing all over town, to every hospital, every clinic, every medical facility I could find, just trying to find some shred of proof that my loved one was among the survivors. I imagine that I would be among those who pray as they are running to find their loved ones, one of those who are making deals inside their head with God... willing to give up anything, promise anything, if only I found my loved one alive. I imagine that would have been me. Refusing to believe I actually lost one of the people I hold dearest. Racing to believe it wasn't possible. That somehow, my life came away unscathed. That would've been me.
Instead, I watch it unfold on a television, from a distance. I watch in disbelief, in sorrow and in anger as people I don't even know are hurting. I don't know them, I've never met them, and yet I cry with them. Because I imagine, just for a moment, that it could have been any one of us that were affected by this terror. By these terrorists.
Any one of us could have lost someone we love. But I didn't. Because I didn't live or work in that geographical location. Because I wasn't on one of those planes. Because of small, yet astronomical details in our lives we have either walked away unharmed or we had our lives forever ripped apart from tragedy.
Have any of us really walked away unscathed? I don't in any way mean to compare what I feel to those who actually lived it. I could never pretend that I know what they are feeling. But, did it change me? Yes. Most definitely, yes.
I realized that we weren't invincible here in America. I realized that we still had to fight for our Freedom. In my life, I have read textbooks of our forefathers fighting to separate us from Britain. I read of the civil war. I read of wars fought on foreign soils. I watched movies that portrayed these events. I watched them and I considered them informative, yes, but also I considered them entertainment. Because I had never lived it. I had never seen anything like it. I was born a child of the 80's. My tumultuous childhood? Crimped hair, hyper-color shirts and a rhinestone-studded denim craze. I didn't grow up in the depression. I didn't live through the Vietnam War. I didn't fight for our freedom as one of the original 13 colonies. I didn't watch one of our states get attacked as Pearl Harbor was taken down. I just reaped the benefits of all of the battles fought before me.
After 9/11 I realized that those battles still have to be fought. That America will only remain the land of the privileged and the land of the free if we are willing to stand up and fight. And, most importantly, if we don't forget.
I hope, that on this day, there are others just like me. Others who did not lose a loved one that day, but who were forever changed by what they felt.
My heart goes out to the families who lost so much that day. And to those families who have lost loved ones in the battle that followed. And for the families who will lose someone in the continuing battle. This is our history we're living, and someday, I hope my grandchildren are proud of how we've created it. But, more importantly, I hope they read of wars in a textbook, live in the land of the free and never have to see hatred of this level in their lives. That is my hope. WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THOSE LOST.