I remember details of September 11, 2001 better than almost any other day of my life (excluding my wedding day).
Aside from being my brother’s birthday, it was a normal day. Going to school, seeing my friends. After first block and home room, my boyfriend told me that planes had been flown into the twin towers and that the trade center had collapsed. I didn’t realize at the time the implications of what he was telling me. At 15 years old, I didn’t take to heart what was happening until I saw it with my own eyes later that evening. Planes hitting buildings located just 3 hours away from where I live. Buildings we had just driven past not a month earlier. Unfathomable. Later that day, all afterschool activities were cancelled. I assumed my parents wouldn’t expect me home until 5:30, so when asked to go get ice cream after school, I went. Why not, right? WRONG.
My boyfriend dropped me off at my dad’s two-story green house. I walked up the front steps and entered the house onto the landing. I looked up the half flight to the living room at a packed duffel bag. My dad rounded the corner and immediately began interrogating me. Where have you been? Why didn’t you come home? Do you know what’s happening? I truly didn’t realize what WAS happening. I climbed the steps, took one look at the television and plopped onto the floor in awe. My dad is a firefighter in upstate NY and was on call to go to NYC as support.
I watched looped footage and specials about 9-11 for weeks. I felt so guilty, not realizing the enormity of the situation. Little did I know, over the next few years I would continue to experience repercussions of this day. My dad went down after the dust settled, along with many of his colleagues, to help support firefighters in the city. We visited ground zero about a year later. It was quite and solemn. Many family members, loved ones and friends have since served in the military and spent time down-range. I know all about the stress and anxiety related to waiting for them call and to come home safe.
The events of this past week have brought these memories to the forefront of my mind once again. Osama Bin Laden has been killed and many others captured. I do not feel that it is appropriate to rejoice and celebrate the death of a human no matter how evil they may be. I can not however ignore the faint feeling of vindication for those lost on 9-11 and our military lost since then.
It is important to remember that our fight against terrorism is not over. The death of a powerful leader is not going to end an entire regime. Regardless of whether or not you feel our place in this war is validated, we’re in it now and we need to support those who are fighting to keep us safe.
Watch out for each other and pray that there are no retaliatory efforts. Stay Safe Friends!