Today is the ten year anniversary of September 11, 2001. I've been sitting here watching all that footage on YouTube from that HORRIBLE day... and sobbing, watching it all. It feels like it just happened yesterday. I know none of us will ever forget it. My 18 yr old daughter was in school when it happened... and she was 8. She just sat down here and watched the footage with me... neither of us even spoke.. what can you say? All we can do is remember, and pray. Pray for those who died that day. For the family and friends left behind, and for the families torn apart... all because of hate.
That day is, in a way, a personal matter for everyone... we all saw the same news footage, felt the shock... it wasn't a Hollywood movie. It was real. A real life nightmare. And everyone in the world who owned a television had a front row seat.
The morning of Sept 11, 2001, my eldest daughter was 8 years old, and still enrolled in public school. I'd driven her to school, and came home to make a bottle and play with my one year old baby. I made the bottle while my husband was on our bed playing with her. I came in, flopped down beside him, with the baby between us. She had her bottle while we talked... I remember she'd finished her bottle, and we were playing with her.. and the television was on... and then suddenly it was on.
The first tower was hit... we were watching... trying to fathom how the heck an airplane hits a building.. especially one THAT big that you can't miss. Then, when the second plane.. and yes we were watching live as it happened... it hit the South Tower... that sickening realization came over us that it was intentional. Deliberate. We were truly under attack. The fire... the smoke... the horror of watching bodies falling from the towers.. The slow-motion collapse of the towers... my eyes were seeing, but I couldn't believe it... the shock.. disbelief... and the horror. I will NEVER forget that. Ever. It's forever burned into my mind.. in living color. It was a nightmare... one that none of us could awaken from. Couldn't wrap my head around it. Then we found out about the plane hitting the Pentagon... and Flight 93 crashing in Shanksville, PA. Sweet Jesus...
I told my now 18 year old daughter, that things like this stick with you. She was in my belly when I watched live on tv the Waco Siege of 1993, when the Branch Davidians were attacked and a total of 87 people were killed. And some were just kids.
She was twenty months old when the Oklahoma City Bombing happened. 168 people... including 19 little kids. I remember the babies the most, I suppose, since I was a relatively new mother myself. I couldn't imagine anyone blowing up a building and killing so many people... and these poor small children... innocent. What a waste of precious life.
Most of us remember when Reagan was shot. I remember seeing James Brady lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood... and the fear I felt. Kennedy happened before I was born... so this was a shock for a kid like me to see. I 'knew' about JFK... but reading about it in school and seeing it live on tv is completely different.
Of course, I remember when John Lennon was shot and killed by a deranged fan. I clearly remember when Elvis died. But September 11.... none of those others can compare to it. (No disrespect meant) All of these horrible in their own right... not taking anything in the world away from senseless violence and the loss of those lives.... But September 11, 2001 was by far the worst in 'my' lifetime. I don't say that with any pleasure. I pray to God my children don't witness worse in their lifetimes.
Sept 11 was an attack on us all. No, I didn't know a blessed soul in those towers. But the shock and the horror affected us all... everyone. But despite that... it was not a day of "fear"... it was actually, a day of true courage. Americans came together more than they had in decades. The passengers of Flight 93. The First Responders. And the heroism continued....those who donated blood. People who responded and sent help from everywhere.
It was this generations Pearl Harbor. This despicable evil.. right here on American soil...in our midst.. and all those poor people did was go to work that day.
For months afterwards I stayed suspicious... I wondered privately to myself *what* would get bombed next. We live in city with military bases... and it dawned on me we could be a potential target. It wasn't fear... it is/was an awareness. The suspiciousness is gone now.. but the awareness stays with me. With all of us.
I think 9/11 knocked off our rose-colored glasses. I used to believe, (I bet most of us thought this), that we were/are "safe". Umm.. yeah.. NO we're not. We know that now. I also think for a while there afterwards, that we were actually stronger as a nation... because we basically locked arms and there was a rekindled sense of love for our nation. We were ready to fight for our freedom. Fight against those who want to destroy us.. the terrorists did NOT kill our spirit!!
Never again will I believe in my heart that we are "safe". I know, with every ounce of my being, that there are extremists out there, who hate us. They awakened a sleeping giant.
My 'baby' is now 11 years old.. and has no memory of that day. It's up to her father and I to teach her the lessons of that day. I don't think I'll ever reach a point where I can talk about it without getting a huge lump in my throat and crying. I don't want to teach my daughter fear. I want to teach her to be aware.. the history of what happened.
Life goes on. Hope is alive.
God Bless the United States of America. God bless those souls lost on Sept 11. God Bless those who died heroes. God bless the families and friends who suffered loss. You all remain in my prayers. And forever in my mind and in my heart.