Tuesday, September 11, 2012

As we remember...


All of us remember where we were on September 11, 2001 when we heard about the World Trade Center. I had stayed home from work recovering from pneumonia, and was propped up in bed watching the Today Show with Katie Couric. The banter had been light and I had only been half listening as I drifted in and out of sleep. Suddenly, the tone got terse as Katie went into your serious-reporter-voice with breaking news that a plane had just hit the WTC. Instantly live footage of smoke billowing out of the tower popped up on the screen. As Katie reported speculating on the whys and wherefores of this accident, I, along with thousands of others, watched the second plane crash into the other tower. That’s when I knew, we all knew, what we were witnessing was no accident.
Eleven years later we can instantly recall the emotions, the disbelief, the sorrow and the fear that struck each of us that day. Vivid images still haunt us of ash and debris-covered New Yorkers staggering down the middle of the street dazed and mute; Firefighters and police officers running toward the towers as panic stricken civilians ran away from them; and finally, once visibility cleared, that haunting image of those ripped and mangled steel girders protruding up out of that horrid mess as a monument of our lost innocence.
My best memory of that day and the weeks that followed, however, was the unity I felt with complete strangers. In stores we’d look at each other and know—we’d know and understand what each of us had been through. We were the survivors, the ones left to mourn. Gone was bi-partisan politics, replaced with clasped hands across the aisle. Gone were any one’s objection of suggestions to pray, in fact, there wasn’t a newscaster I watched that didn’t end their broadcast each evening with a mention of God or prayer.
Disagreements were forgotten.  Issues put in perspective. And to the forefront came the overwhelming belief that the sanctity of life was all that mattered. Helping each other through this tragedy was given priority. Money and manpower was sent to our New York neighbors. Church pews filled up as we reacquainted ourselves with our beliefs and faith. We turned to God and His help because we had nowhere else to turn.
We became our best selves during this time of devastation. Everyone mattered. Everyone wanted to help. Candle lighting, prayer vigils, and bravery joined hands around our country as we held each other up. This was who we are. This was the American people as we were meant to be.
I want those people back. I want us to drop the rhetoric, the spin, the self- centeredness and nonsense of the past couple of years and remember who we are again. We are Americans. We are one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
September 11, 2001- may it always remind us exactly who and Whose we are…

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