Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Remembering September 11, 2001

As seen in:

September 4th, 2006 Record Herald
September 11th, 2006 News Journal

There was a day not too long ago that you and I weren't Republicans or Democrats. We weren't white, black, Asian or Hispanic. We weren't conservatives or liberals. We were just people. Good people. We were Americans and that was enough. One day made us put aside our differences and stand up for the common good.

You know what day that was. It was Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Don't forget that day. You promised you wouldn't. We all did.

Remember the video of the towers where people were jumping to their deaths because that was better than being inside the raging inferno. Remember the horror of the first tower falling, when all eyes went to the other tower knowing it wouldn't be far behind. Remember the Pentagon burning. Remember the fear of what was coming next. Not knowing if they were done yet. Remember the rescue effort last lasted for days and weeks.

We had to take DNA samples of family members to identify the victims. We need to remember. The terrorists were happy to see that. They were thrilled to see that there was nothing left of our loved ones under the rubble. This enemy is evil.

9-11 bonded us. It bonded the good together and made us impenetrable. United we stand had a whole new meaning.

We helped. We gave. We shared. We cared for one another. We spoke to strangers on the street. We could relate. Each and every one of us could get along.

We all looked to the President and his cabinet to see what they would say. When he spoke, we didn't scoff because we didn't agree with him on certain issues. You and I were ready to hear what he had to say, to put an end to the rumors, lies and fast growing conspiracy theories what were popping up. He wasn't George W. Bush that day. He wasn't a republican or a conservative. He was the Commander in Chief. He was the President of the United States of America, the best country in the world. We all agreed to that.

We were glad to hear him say we would hunt down the terrorists who were behind this. We wanted them to pay for killing 3,000 of our family and friends.

We all know that it was around 3,000 lives that ended on that day, but that wasn't the number of lives destroyed. That number is much, much larger.

Tens of thousands lost someone. Everyone is the most important person to someone. The number people who lost their fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and friends cannot be counted; but it is certainly no less than a six digit number.

Imagine telling your son or daughter that their mom or dad is not coming home because there are people in the world who don't like us being here. The fact that we exist is enough for them to want to destroy us. An eight year old can't comprehend that. I have a hard time with that one myself.

9-11 divided our state of mind into three groups:

· September 10 Americans: Didn't care about the world as long as it wasn't affecting us, why should we care?

· September 11 Americans: Angry, shocked and scared. We were ready for answers. We all had the same question on our mind: "Why?"

· September 12 Americans: The best we can be. Kind and understanding. Patient and strong. Ready to help in any way we could. We gave our blood, money we couldn't really spare and our time. We understood why we were such a great nation.

Afterwards, we took our time. We didn't mind getting stuck in traffic. We helped folks who needed it. We literally gave our blood, sweat and tears for this country, without question or second thought. We were filled with pride, we waved the flag, wore it on pins, shirts, hats. Everywhere you looked you saw red, white and blue.

We volunteered, from fire fighters, doctors, police and rescue workers right down to serving those helping in the recovery with food and water.

9-11 really changed me. It made me a patriot. For the first time in my life, I went out and bought a flag. It made me pay attention to the news, made me read the paper, care about elections, but it also made me talk to my neighbor, and reminded me to help folks whenever I could, not when it was convenient. 9-11 made me want to be a better person.

Now, as we approach the five year anniversary, we see the documentaries all over TV. We finally see the images again. We do need to see these, but not too much. We need to be reminded of that clear September day when the world came crashing down around us, but we don't need to get numb to it. If we overdose on it, we forget the significance of the pain. To me, 9-11 is still an open wound, not a scar. As soon as it becomes a scar, it stops hurting. This still hurts.

We must remember the way we felt. We can't slip into being September 10 Americans again. We owe the victims that much. I remember 9-11 every day, just as I try each and every day to be a September 12 American.


Post a Comment

<< Home