Sunday, September 11, 2011

Can it be?

September 11th.  Can it really have been ten years?  It's hard to believe 2001 is so far away- but at the same time, it feels like only yesterday we heard the news.

I'm sure that today we'll all tell the stories of where we were when "it" happened. I'm sure we can all remember it vividly.  The fear, the tears, the absolute bewilderment.

I was in High School and we all walked in to Band Class (second period), to find our instructor, a native New Yorker, in tears in front of a TV.  He told us someone flew a plane into the World Trade Center and one of them twin towers had collapsed.

What?  Is that possible?  There must be a mistake somewhere.  Who would do something like that? Why would they do that?  Oh many people were inside? Could anyone get out?

We watched the news coverage, stunned.

The rest of the day was full of uncertainty.  News had spread through the school like wildfire and even though most of us had never been to New York, had no connections to people there, we were stunned, upset- and frightened.

I remember the lunch room and hearing two freshmen girls wonder if they would hit our small, dinky town.  We older, wiser kids knew our town was safe- but what about our state capital?  What about Charlotte, the "Queen City" ?

I went home, turned on the news channels and watched the updates for the rest of the evening.  Two buildings collapsed, a hijacked plane crashed by American Heroes in a field, saving countless lives, but killing all on board.  Another plane crashed into the Pentagon.  I made my little brother, who was in early elementary school, watch a few minutes.  I told him "You need to see, so you can remember."

I think the days after September 11th were the worst I can remember.  There was so much sadness everywhere as the body count rose.  Friends and family members declared they wanted to join the military, they wanted to fight, to avenge those who had died and punish the ones who had the audacity to attack us.  Our innocence had been lost.  Most of my generation only vaguely remembered Operation Desert Storm (and doubtful any of us really understood it)- we were used to peace and none of us thought something like this could even happen.

Yet, we pulled together as well.  Emergency workers rushed from all corners of the country to help the stricken New Yorkers. Blood banks overflowed as people rushed to donate.  Everywhere you looked, flags were out and waving proudly.

Ten years. How can it have been so long already, when the memories are so fresh?  It won't be long until our high school graduates weren't alive when it happened. 

Today should be a day of simple remembrance and appreciation. Let's not politicize this one day of the year.  We can go back to being Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Party-ers, Independents, etc. tomorrow.  Today, we're just going to be Americans.

I've struggled over trying to decide how to tag this post.  "Tragedy"?  Well hopefully I won't have to use that tag more than once. "Holiday"?  Well it's not exactly a holiday is it? Maybe I'll go with simply, "Memories".


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