I woke up, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, put on my school attire, and fought with Matt over who got to ride in the front seat of our white Cadillac. We rode the block over to the school, and I hurriedly voiced "I love you" to daddy as I grabbed my backpack and slammed the door to run inside to Mrs. Long's fourth grade classroom.
Later that morning, we went to the library, and Mrs. Clemie had the news on, but she quickly turned it off when we went in. The first tower had already been struck, and the first few of us to walk in the door saw the burning building flash across the screen. Reporters seemed to be paniced, but we didn't exactly know what was going on. Then it was gone, and the TV turned lifeless. We begged her for what seemed like forever to turn it back on, and even though she hesitated, she finally gave in. She turned it on in just enough time for us to witness the second tower being struck by the plane. I remember us staying in the library for a lot longer than usual that day, and we were occupied by many more teachers than we would have been on a normal library day.
The rest of the day has been erased from my memory, unfortunately, but I do remember the vagueness that filled every place we went. Fear, anxiety, and wonder filled the minds of everyone. What would happen next? Was it over? What does all of this mean?
Even though we didn't FULLY forget about the attack of 9/11, after a few weeks it suddenly wasn't the first thought on our mind when we woke up in the morning, and our last thought before we drifted to sleep. But all of the people affected? It was undoubtably still on their mind. It's always on their mind. Their world didn't turn back to normal just because it slipped their mind for a few minutes. Their world was ripped right from its seams, and it would never EVER be the same again. Their world had been hit by a plane, gone up in smoke, and fallen to the ground in the form of rubble and ash.
There would be grandparents without children, children without grandparents, parents without children, children without parents. There would be aunts without uncles, uncles without aunts, cousins without cousins, sisters without brothers, brothers without sisters, and these people could never be replaced without another. Sure, another man could teach a boy how to tie his tie, but his Daddy wouldn't be the one. And sure, another man could walk his daughter down the isle at her wedding, but it wouldn't ber her Daddy. Of course another Mom could hold a baby and care for it like it was her own, but it would never be their real grandmother. There's no doubt that a man could teach a boy the mannerisms of how he should treat a lady, but it wouldn't be the same tradition of his grandfathers.
And if the people who weren't directly affected by the terrorists attack, what about all the people who willingly went to aid the people that survived? The firefighters, policemen, EMT's, military personnel, port authority, as well as everyday people? What if no one had reacted, and not one person showed up on the scene? I imagine that lives that were saved would have been taken, and hope that remained would no longer exist.
I am grateful for the life I have in America and the principles that this country is based upon. Sometimes I am fully aware (and it is often pretty evident) of the way that our country has strayed from what it was founded upon, but isn't it ironic how the ones who want things to "change" so much always fall back into our original beliefs when tragedy strikes? Maybe if we thought about treating everyday as a day of remembrance upon how our country reacted not only TEN years ago, but years before that as well - we would be a lot more unified, understanding, and appreciative of those who give us such pride in being from the United States. From me, personally, if you are reading this and have given your time and heart to our country - I thank you from my innermost being. You are a hero to me, and you aren't thanked enough.
September 12, 2001, started just as the one before. There was only one difference. As I reached for my backpack and went to say goodbye to Daddy for the day, I didn't do it in such a hurry, and he stopped Matt & I before we left him and said, "Remember where you were yesterday. Remember everything about it because one day you will read about yesterday in your history books. You'll be able to tell your children that you remember when that happened." I think we both walked into school that day with his words on our mind.
"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing, and in everything: give thanks, for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
~ 1 Thes. 5:16-18