Monday, September 12, 2011

10 years ago today

Well, yesterday really. September 11, 2011 seems like an eternity ago; nearly half my life! Yes, folks, I had just turned 12 on the day the twin towers crumbled and New York fell apart. I don't know what it is about major life and death events that make people so keen to reflect, contemplate, and re-live but that's what everyone is doing today. Is this what people do on the 10, 20, or 50 year anniversaries of things like the bombing of Hiroshima, the Titanic sinking, D-Day in WWII, and the disaster at Chernobyl? Talk about where they were the exact minute something big happened, such and such occurred, and so and so died? Heck, my parents can still recount what they were doing and where they were when Kennedy got shot. I can't even fathom being more involved in the situation; it hurts to take on these massive emotions of other people. So I'll retell my story...'cause that's what people do, right?

When the first plane hit, I didn't know about it at all. I was walking to the bus stop to go to middle school, oblivious as can be. I remember walking into home room with Ms. Schmidtmann and nobody was talking. The TV was on but that was normal because morning announcements would start soon. But as I glanced at it I immediately knew something was not right. A plane was flying into a building, and another building was smoking. I was highly confused. Was this a movie? Then my teacher started talking about what happened while we were being transported to school and we all stared wide eyed at the screen. I had just barely gotten there in time to catch live footage of the second crash. We did nothing that day. We went to all of our classes but no teachers even tried to teach. We just kept watching replay after replay of the horrific "accidents" and slowly learning that it wasn't an accident at all, but an attack. I got home from school and immediately turned the TV on there. Mom rushed into the living room and told me to go watch in her bedroom; she didn't want my 5 year old brother seeing it. The whole house was somber that evening but I remember asking a jillion questions. Yes, it is true, I had no prior knowledge of the Twin Towers.

Other things I found out about that day:
1) George Bush Jr. (then president) was actually speaking at an elementary school in my hometown when it happened. He knew about the first "accident" before he went into the classroom but one of his advisers whispered the news of the second crash and "America is under attack" while he was reading a childrens book to a classroom of 2nd graders. In order to not alarm the students, he continued on to finish the book but hastily left afterwards to be whisked away into a secure holding room to keep him safe.
2) While I was working for the VA last year, curiosity struck me and I asked about their perception of the attacks. I was informed that the hospital was placed on lock down and there were snipers posted on the roof tops. This shocked me for some reason but I suppose it makes sense.

I will never forget this day. It's an important day to remember. But I think the months and years afterward is what deserves memorializing even moreso.

So in ALL of these events that afflict human kind, lets remember caring, cleaning up, risking, loving, reaching, helping, growing, and healing. It's not America vs the world; it's not even America vs terrorists that matters. As Paul Farmer once said, "The only real nation is humanity. I would argue that it would be God's Kingdom but that's a whole 'nother story.

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