Today is the eighth anniversary of the most cowardly terrorist attacks on our country, a day we refer to as 9/11. I remember wondering that day if "September 11th" or "9/11" would ever sound normal to me like December 7th does, the day President Roosevelt said was a day that would "live in infamy". Well, yeah, September 11th sounds like that to me now, only with one major difference.
I was alive for this one.
The morning of September 11, 2001 started like any other Tuesday morning. I went to work in Macon, probably five minutes late as was my habit. Ha! I was working for Citi then, of course. I always worked for Citi! I sat down at my desk and got busy doing whatever it was that I did back then. Just before 9:00, we heard on the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center but we didn't think much of it. It was probably some little private plane flying too low. We just hoped no one was killed. A little after 9:00, the guy on the radio said another plane had hit the other tower. Okay, well, now that was no accident. My boss, David, turned on our little color TV and worked with the rabbit ears until he got NBC to come in pretty clearly and we tuned in to find out what in the world was going on. We could not believe what we saw. NBC just turned the cameras on and let us watch. Katie and Matt didn't talk much. I remember sitting there in absolute horror when I realized those poor, pitiful souls were jumping out of those buildings. Jumping out of those buildings because it was so unbearably hot where they were. So hot that they thought falling to their deaths was a better fate. That will haunt me to my last day. I remember sitting there in absolute disbelief watching the towers fall in real time. Watching those towers FALL. Those magnificent, enormous buildings where so much work and fun and lives took place collapsed like they were made of matchsticks. It felt more like a movie to me. No way could this be happening to us, not the United States of America. I realize now how arrogant that was. Oh, yes, it could be happening to us, the great United States of America. It DID happen.
I remember asking David "why?" and "what did we do to deserve this?" and "WHO could have done this?" I asked him if he thought it was Saddam Hussein and he said his best guess was Osama bin Laden. Osama who?? I had not even heard the man's name until right then. He had never stepped over into my little world until that morning.
We watched TV at work for three days. We couldn't NOT watch. We watched with hope and prayed for survivors to be found and were crushed when there were none. I remember going to give blood and being turned away because it wasn't needed. I remember how our country came together and crime went down. Everybody loved everybody and we all went to give blood and volunteer to look for survivors and take food to the folks working at Ground Zero. We were at our best during those first days and weeks following September 11th. We flew our flags and wore our pins and by God, we were proud to be Americans!
That sure didn't last. We're back to hating each other and bickering over every little thing. I learned a lot from September 11th. I learned that our lives can turn on a dime and to tell the people I love that I love them, every chance I get. I learned that the world hates us because of the way we are and live. I'd never even entertained that idea before. I wasn't very politically aware back then but I sure am now. I wanted to know WHY this happened. I won't let some monster sneak his way into my little world ever again.
This may sound crazy but this is my blog and I can say what I want. :) When I pray about September 11th, I don't pray for a stronger military to keep us safe. I pray for my big old beautiful country to be safe through peace, understanding and compassion.
Hey, it could happen. Look who I'm praying to.