(I ask you to forgive me for the lateness of this post, but I was gone most of yesterday. Regardless, in light of current events taking place all over the U.S., I fell compelled to write about the darkest day in America...)
Weather you were at ground zero, on the opposite side of the U.S. or on the other side of the world, you felt the effects of the terrorist attacks on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. Some were too young to remember or not even born yet, but it has since become a staple in American history and on the forefront of the minds of millions.
I was 19 when it happened. My family had spent a year in the High Desert, still getting use to the oddities of the environment. on that morning, my mother woke me up and told me we've been attacked. I didn't know what she meant, so at her urging, I got up and looked tuned into the news. at first, I thought it was just a fire, that people were just over exaggerating a simple problem. as the newscasters spoke, I kept thinking 'It does seem weird that there would be a fire in THAT part of the tower. But, it's just a fire. It can't be a terrorist attack, like they have been guessing at. Can it?
Then the second plane hit.
Even before the last two jets struck the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania, I was no longer in denial. we were under attack. The normally exotic desert looked a lot darker that night. Anxieties ran high, questions needed answering and we began the long road to recovery. For me it was a difficult travel. My father was forced to commute halfway across the state for his job, so I was forced to be the pillar of strength for everyone in the house until he returned. I had to calm my younger siblings when an unannounced missile defense test went off, even though I was scared myself. Even today, sights, sounds, smells, events both synonymous and having nothing to do with that day, movies, songs, books, all still bring to mind the memories and feelings of 9/11.
Anger and fear were palpable in the minds of Americans. Muslum-Americans (who condemned the acts of the Taliban, who took no part in their actions) were the target of the rage that came from the public. Yet there was also something wonderful that came out of all chaos. something that I had not seen before.
Americans were helping one another. We had set aside our self-important differences and found strength in each other. Pride in our country was at an all-time high, with flags appearing in uncommon places. Cops, EMT, firefighters, soldiers, all the "first responders" were finally held up as heroes, as they deserved to be. We were the America I could be proud of.
Look how far we've fallen.
In the years that followed, we have lost that unity. Cops and soldiers have once again become the subject of hate. selfish politicians, FROM ALL PARTIES, have divided opinions and interests. Idiotic celebrities and athletes encourage and display disrespectful paraphernalia and doctrine designed only to degrade society. liberal-minded professors from different universities have openly attacked those who set up posters and flyers commemorating the 15th anniversary of 9/11. we are no longer NOW what we were THEN.
My fear is that the only thing that will lift us out of this mud pit of hate is another 9/11. Maybe even something worse that the last one. I pray that it will never have to come to that, but the way things are, we may be setting ourselves up for another attack. if that day comes, hopefully we'll learn from our failings.
what were your memories of 9/11?