Today is September 11, 2013. It has been 12 years since our country was attacked. Each year I watch the documentaries and each time I cry sympathetic tears for the families affected by that day; tears for our nation and our soldiers. Some ask why I watch the documentaries if I react the way I do. Some have said, “Why do that to yourself?” or “Why put yourself through that?” It’s because each time I watch the programs I feel like I am paying my respects. I was not able to help with clean up. I didn’t have a family member who died in the attacks, but like every American, a part of me died that day. My hope is to take my son to see the memorials in the summer of 2014. It is important for our little Americans to understand sacrifice, pride, and Patriotism.
Thousands of people died in the events of 9/11, over 800 after that day that as a result of injury or illness. Multitudes are psychologically scared. In fact, I think every American experienced some sort of post-traumatic stress. Personally, I still get anxious each time I fly. Those images pop back into my head. I push them out of my mind of course, by I can bet that the majority of Americans who fly, feel similar anxiety.
I cannot imagine the heartbreak of the families directly impacted by that day or the families who have watched their sons and daughters take up arms to defend this country. We have fought the good fight. Our troops have defended the innocence lost that September day.
The world as we knew it changed. Everything changed, but I think the one thing that the terrorists didn’t expect was that the American spirit was stronger and bigger than anything they could have ever expected. People who should have been running away from burning buildings, fled into them to help survivors find their way to safety. In New York, most of the angels who ran into the Twin Towers didn’t return home to the people that loved them because they made the ultimate sacrifice for human life. At the Pentagon, military personnel were called into a battle they could have never anticipated that day, running into a crumbling, burning structure to assist without thought of their own well-being. The passengers of 93 had the courage to stand up and fight to save our nation’s capital with yet more sacrifice. Who knew that when these individuals were born they would be bestowed with such a profound destiny?
Where were you when you heard the news? I know you’ll never forget it. It’s one of those moments that you remember vividly. Sort of like when President Kennedy was shot or when the space shuttle Challenger fell from the sky. One of those defining moments in life when everything stands still.
I was teaching preschool, a month and a half away from giving birth. Our director came in and initially told us that the World Trade Center and he Pentagon had been bombed. When I got home that night and turned on the news, I sat there stunned at what I saw. I couldn’t believe something like this could happen on American soil; people willingly jumping from 100 story buildings, planes crashing into everything. It felt like the world had gone mad. The thing on my mind was the life I carried inside me. I was bringing him into a very different kind of world now; a world where the greatest nation was now on its knees, grieving. I also thought of the 9/11 widows, also pregnant, whose husbands would not come home. It tore me up.
I was headed to downtown Dayton that day after work for a maternity check up and every section of Government was closed down. Wright Patterson was closed. Everything stopped. EVERYTHING. It was bumper to bumper traffic. You could feel the anxiety in the air.
The most magnificent part of 9/11, however, is that many who lived through that day found the power within themselves to go on. Mothers, fathers, son, daughters, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, sisters, brothers, cousins… the list goes on and on. They have all continued with life in honor of their fallen loved one, always remembering in reverence the sacrifices that were made then and that continue to be made on the stage of war.
Today, I quietly give my respects to those impacted directly by 9/11, but also to those soldiers who defended honor and American integrity. I know I am only one person, insignificant in the scheme of things, but I will never forget any of it. NEVER. As long as I live I will be grateful for the heroic action, the selflessness, the angelic-like mindset, and the supernatural strength shown by anyone who was involved in such a tragic, life changing day.
May we always remember. May we never forget.