I know this site will be flooded with posts about this today, but I’m adding mine anyway.
Today, for school, and history with the boys, I told them about what happened on this date eleven years ago. I couldn’t get through it without crying. Just every time I opened my mouth, I cried more. It’s amazing how something like this can move you. It’s been over a decade, I didn’t know anyone involved…and still, I’m crying.
You hear how everyone remembers where they were when the planes hit. I was in the shower. I was 16 and had just gotten home from running. I got in the shower, my mom burst through the door, and said “get out, now! We’re under attack!” I remember, very clearly, thinking “What the hell?” as I tried to rinse the soap out of my hair. She said a plane had hit the WTC. I know how to fly a plane, I know things go wrong, so, I said “well, it’s tragic but, attack? How do you know it wasn’t an accident?” She was standing at the doorway…watching tv from there, and she screamed. And yelled “yes, I’m sure, the second one just hit!” I stood in her bedroom, mesmerized, crying, in nothing but a towel, soap still running out of my hair, for the next few hours. I couldn’t move, I didn’t want to miss anything, I was scared to miss anything. I didn’t get dressed until I saw the time lapsed images of the planes leaving the sky.
Even now, I get chills watching that video.
At the time, I wanted nothing more in life than to be a military fighter pilot. But, that day took quite a bit of wind out of my sails. If this happened again, I didn’t think I could shoot down Americans. I didn’t think I could kill 300 innocent people even if it meant saving 3,000. People going to work, families on vacation…and if this sort of thing happened again, the fighter pilots are supposed to take them down. And now, thinking about it…my husband is on a plane 4+ times a week. My kids are on a plane quite often. I know I couldn’t do it now. At 16, I thought maybe I could. Now I know I couldn’t.
It’s amazing how much can change in just a few minutes. The WTC buildings left the skyline, almost 3,000 people died in moments. Hundreds of men and women who went to work for a routine day that day were honored in funerals days and weeks later as heroes. In just moments the kiss goodbye at the gate was lost and traded for a drop off at the door and dozens of instances of procedures put into place to make us feel safer, but don’t do much. And, yes, every time I step onto a plane, I think about the fact a downed radio system may get me killed by our own military, but luckily, everyone now knows my 7 yr old doesn’t have a bomb in his work boots. A few moments completely changed travel for Americans. It made terrorism a word in the everyday language, and allowed parts of the Constitution to be practically thrown away. It was a horrible, sad, and scary day, that did exactly as intended. It sparked terror in the lives of almost everyone in the United States, and even other parts of the world…and has for the last decade.
Brad asked me today when I thought 9/11 would be declared a national holiday. Honestly, I don’t think it ever will be. Pearl Harbor was about the same scope. Americans attacked on their own soil. Thousands dead. Completely unsuspecting. A national tragedy that brought the country together. And, it’s faded or fading from people’s memory. 2 yrs ago, at the college, they had a moment of silence on December 7. When it was over, a group standing next to me asked what it was for. Another time, on September 11, the professor asked where everyone was on Sept 11. A lot of people, my age and older remembered, things like “at work” or “at school” or “the dr with my son who just broke his arm”. Then, they asked a younger kid. He said he had no idea. He was only 6 or so when it happened. He remembered his parents very upset, but he couldn’t understand why. Even at 17. They didn’t know anybody there. It sucked, but he didn’t understand the people still crying.
It occurred to me, this is just history. To my kids, it won’t hold much more significance than Pearl Harbor, that won’t hold any more significance than the Civil War or the War of 1812. Yup…that sucked. What date again? I need to know it for the test! They will never understand getting goosebumps as you walk past that crater in the ground. They don’t know they are missing anything by not being allowed to watch daddy’s plane take off. It doesn’t seem odd to them that they aren’t allowed out of the car in the one spot at the airport, by the fence, where you can watch the flights.
I don’t know that my long rambling post really has a point. I’m just talking, trying to express myself, away from the kids, who got upset, because they couldn’t understand why mommy was crying. Mommy was crying for everything that was lost that day. Things that they never even knew existed.