Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11

There have been many defining moments in our nation's history, times so potently charged with emotion that they sear themselves into our memories. We forever remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when the events occurred. The attacks of 9/11 are one of them.

I was driving in a car on the way to school (I went back to college later in life) when the first reports came in. A small plan had hit the Trade Center, they said. By the time I drove the half hour to school it was clear it was a much larger plane.

We jimmy-rigged a television in the library and watched in horror as the second plane hit, and then as the towers - incredibly, unbelievably - fell. I remember thinking the footage looked like a scene from a horror movie. The sight of the towers slowly collapsing in on themselves, billowing smoke and debris, people screaming and running...they're branded in my memory even now, eleven years later.

From the ashes came stories of heroism, of police, firefighters, and everyday people risking - and in many cases, losing - their lives in an effort to save others. Their actions gave me hope for our country.

In the days that followed, I remember the sense of community that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We came together as a country then, flags waving, solidarity evident in everything from our clothing to our music. 

Incredibly, I discovered that we, as a country, do have a soul, even if its usually deeply buried under corporate greed and political dissension.

It was a defining moment in our history, and a telling of our character as a nation.

1 comment:

  1. It was a numbing day for me. As in... when I finally understood it was real, I felt NUMB. Like... even knowing it was real, it couldn't be REAL.

    I was working in downtown DC then, across the street from the National Press Building, two blocks from the US Treasury and maybe four blocks from the White House.

    What a terrible day, but also an encouraging one, because when I left work after the restaurant closed down (I started work at 6 a.m., and it was during restaurant week)I went out onto the street and everyone was so... shocked and scattered and baffled and frightened, but also so willing to help each other out. To extend themselves when they'd all been so self-contained and selfish before.

    9/11 changed all of us, I think, but none so much as those of us who lived and worked in DC, which had been a target just as much as New York.

    The damage was far worse in NYC, obviously, and I don't claim that things were worse here, but I think there was that same sense of dodging a bullet, somehow. DC just seemed to be lucky enough to dodge better.

    Thank you for your remembrance. It brought it back for me and that can't be a bad thing, though the event itself was terrible.

    To appropriate a quote from the old Robin Hood series (BBC one with Michael Praed)-- Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.