Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Remembering September 11th Six Years Later

This week a friend inspired me to finally utilize this space that I have had for so long now. Holding true to the theme of my blog "Generation Now", I thought I would start by sharing what I wrote on September 11 of this year. It is important for my generation to start living up to our education, knowledge and privledge as Americans and start changing the world and ourselves one step at a time.

Six years ago this morning, America lost its innocence once again; at least it did for me. I was not quite 21-years-old; I was in college and did not think much about journalism, the evening news, politics or the happenings in foreign nations. I was a kid. Two minutes after I awoke that morning the first plane hit, by the time it made it to my local morning news no one knew what had happened and the hole in the building could not be seen through the sea of smoke. As my parents and I watched smoldering south tower of the World Trade Center via TV in the comfort of our home thousands of miles away in Arizona; the second plane hit and we knew our country was under attack.

I remember clearly my thoughts on that morning and the tears I shed. I thought about all of the lives that were lost and the families that would be broken. I listened to NPR on my drive to my morning classes and heard the reports of people jumping from the buildings and then the crash into the Pentagon. I thought that the world had gone mad and that any moment world war three would break out. I sat in my car once I arrived on campus and continued to listen as they reported the south tower collapsing. Unable to listen to anymore I composed myself and my thoughts and went to Spanish lab. Much to my surprise no one knew about what was occurring.

I ditched my history class and went grocery shopping. I became one of those paranoid Americans; I filled my car with gas, bought powdered milk, gallons of water, pet food for a month and withdrew my ATM limit of $300 for the day. Then I sat for the next 18 hours glued to my TV in silent prayer that I would wake up from this nightmare.

Like so many Americans on that day I rallied with my neighbors, my friends, my family, my peers and co-workers and became angry that such a thing could happen on US soil. Looking back now as a more educated and media savvy individual I am shocked that it took as long as it did for something as enormous as this to occur in America. For far too long we looked at ourselves as immortal.

I have theories about 9/11 just as I have theories about our government and our leaders and have ideals both popular and unpopular. Regardless of my beliefs, I am proud to be a part of this country. Many times I may complain about the lack of social and economic equality, but I never fear that my government will cut my tongue out. Many times I will complain about the glass ceiling for women in the work place and the difference in pay that still holds true to this day, but I never have to fear my country taking away my ability to work. In this country I have the right to complain about, make fun of and pray for my leaders, without have to worry that my government will send me to jail for treason.

I am grateful to be a part of a society that for at least a short time, held together and worked together as a nation to rebuild our collective confidence and strength. I truly wish that we could remember how we were feeling then and take it with us to the office, into traffic, to the grocery store and into the world. I truly wish that we could start paying it forward, each and every one of us, and continue working to build a nation that we are proud of and not one that we want to flee.

Since this Sunday I have been in the realm of remembrance of this evil date. I watched stories on the History Channel, "Flight 93" and for the first time I saw "World Trade Center." Upon viewing these I silently sat thanking and praying for those who so selflessly rushed into the towers to try to save whom ever they could, the individuals who took charge on Flight 93 even though it was too late for them, the rescue workers countrywide who went to NYC via caravan style to offer any service they could, the families who lost so much, and the young men who later volunteered to serve and protect their country. That is what this date truly means to me. It is not a date to push political beliefs, warmongering or hate. It is a day of reflection, thanks, honor, remembrance and gratitude.

May we never forget what we lost, what we gained and that our country for a little while once again showed the compassion and camaraderie it once had so much of in the past.

Bless you all,