Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Confessional - Ten Years Later, Today I Want To Remember

September 11th, 2001.  That morning when I woke, how could I know I was about to watch the world change?  I had no idea that I was about to witness a catalyst that would lead to two wars, to my father being called up to Iraq, to my cousin's husband dying in Afghanistan, to the changing of thousands of people's lives both here in the United States and abroad.  Ten years ago to the day, I was just up getting ready for school.  It was still dark when my neighbor came pounding into our living room.  He turned on our TV and said, "Look".  What we were looking at?  It took us a few seconds to realize it was one of the twin towers in New York, black smoke billowing out of the top .  "An airplane flew into the tower," he told us.  How had the plane gone so off course?  How were people going to get out out of the building?  How did this happen?  We'd only been watching for a few minutes when the second plane flew into the south tower.  We knew now it was no accident.  Did anyone leave their living rooms that day?  We sat in front of the TV watching the towers burn, smoke filling the sky, endless speculation swirling about what was happening, who had perpetrated these acts, how the US would respond.  Half an hour later the Pentagon was hit.  The reports were now switching from Washington to New York.  We watched stuff falling from the towers only to realize with horror it was people falling, jumping, dying.  Almost an hour after the South tower was hit we watched it collapse.  Did we gasp?  Did we scream?  Of all the things I remember of this day, that I can't.  I just went numb.  How else does someone deal with their heart breaking?  We heard reports that hijackers had taken over the planes.  We heard about a man who called home to tell his wife his plane had been hijacked.  His wife told him about the Towers.  Passengers on this plane call love ones multiple times.  They had been told there was a bomb on the plane.  At some point they realized they were the bomb.  They decide to act and we heard of a plane going down in field in Pennsylvania.  That day I watched thousands of people die, mothers, fathers, people's children. There were all types, corporate bigwigs to waiters, people who worked there everyday to rescuers who were just there for the day trying to help people out of the flames.  In the following days we'd find out that nineteen hijackers carried out the actions of that day.  We'd learn their names, how they entered the country, how they hijacked the planes.  They would ultimate be responsible for the deaths of 266 people who died on the planes, 125 would died in the pentagon,  2596 people who died in the towers, including 23 policemen, 343 firemen, 47 port authority workers, and 37 port authority officers who rushed into the buildings after the attack trying to save people.  Planes would be grounded in this country for over a week.  The airline industry would make sweeping security changes.  Violence against Muslims went up in the weeks following the event as people used it as an excuse or maybe an outlet for grief and hatred.  Our President used it as a reason to start two offenses, ones that ten years later we are still involved in, that have resulted in the deaths of almost five thousand US soldiers and the deaths of hundreds of thousand of civilians of these countries.  It set back Muslim/American relations in ways that still affect us.  I sit in awe here today, thinking back on the lives and innocence lost, the fact that such a relatively small group of people could bring so much evil to the world.  I remember the sacrifices made on that day and the days following.  I'm grateful for the people who showed humanity, who took care of their fellow man, who made the ultimate sacrifice.  I have hope that we can use this remembrance to catalyse our own changes for good.  That we can be a little better each day, try a little harder, love our children just a little stronger today, release our anger to God, and ask him what we can do to improve this world.  After all if such a small group could have such a huge influence for bad, why can't a large group have a much greater influence for good?

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Crystal! Who was the neighbor? I was already gone on my way to work and heard it in the parking lot on my radio. I'm sorry you kids were there alone to hear that!



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