Today was our 3 month ‘anniversary’ with *diary site*. Seems fitting to go ahead and join the masses in commenting about 9-11 and this last year.
We were on the computer (surprise surprise) when Charlie called and told me he’d just heard something about a plane crashing into a building in NYC. I turned on the tv just in time to see the second plane as it hit. I sat on the edge of my bed for the rest of the day, watching dumbfounded as the towers fell and the stations replayed and replayed the footage.
We watched the footage of people panicking in the streets, the dust covered crowds trying desperately to get away. We watched as the media gave new information only to retract it later seemingly every hour over the next week. We listened to the reports of those who gave their lives to protect others. We watched as the final survivors were pulled from the wreckage and the heartrending news that there could be no more. We watched the coverage of families hoping against hope to find their loved one alive. We wondered what about the children? For some reason it was very important to know if any children had died. When the bombing occurred in Oklahoma we heard about the lives of children that were lost. We never heard coverage about the most innocent of victims. Were there no children even on the planes?
Emails from family members started pouring in. In typical fashion for my family, they seemed to be trying to explain what happened to themselves, with the odd philosophical bent they seem to spin on everything.
I love my family. Like many others, this event drew us just a *little* closer. It was a reminder to us all how fragile and fleeting life is. Tell one another you love them before the chance is snatched from under you. Since then, all the siblings scattered far and wide have reached out just a bit more and we’ve come to know each other again.
It’s strange though. People ask how the events of 9-11 have changed people individually. For us, there has been little change outside of the little bit of closeness with my family. We have no more fears than we did before. Honestly there was more fear for us in the 80’s when all we heard about was the possibility of nuclear war.
My sense of patriotism is no more or less. The opinion we have of our nation has not changed. That’s not to say we aren’t ‘patriots’. We are. Just not necessarily the way most people would think. This is a flawed country run by flawed people. Not as flawed as some countries but far better than most. The government is a mess but still far better than most. The perspective hasn’t changed.
There is greater pride in those whose jobs put them in daily danger. There is tremendous pride in those who stood to fight a battle they knew they could not win. There is compassion for those who lost loved ones and rage for those who saw this tragedy as an opportunity to profit themselves.
9-11 is but one of many events that will always be recalled with the same clarity as the moment it happened. The day Elvis died, the day John Lennon died, the day Reagan was shot, the day the Challenger exploded, the day Baby Jessica was pulled from a well, and many others. This is but one event that has touched an entire nation. This was not the first time total strangers came together in grief and support and it will not be the last.
Of all the things we took from 9-11, the reality that as a nation and as individuals, no matter how flawed, we have enough in common to come together with compassion and even grace, that is what will remain after all else fades.