Sunday, September 11, 2011

Awakening

         Here's a quote I found from StoryPeople, that I think really describes today's date in history.
In those days,
we finally chose
to walk like giants
& hold the world
in arms grown strong with love
& there may be many things we forget
in the days to come,
but this will not be one of them.

         I was eight when the Twin Towers were ambushed on 9/11/2001. Third graders don't usually receive too much in the way of current events, let alone terrorists. But this day mattered. I remember one girl complaining that she had to leave school; I was a bit confused myself, though relieved that my mom came in the middle of gym class. 
         She walked me and my brother home from our tiny school on the hill. We walked the mile distance, kicking rocks and staring up at the blue, completely cloudless, completely plane-less sky. Then we played baseball in the front yard. The sun shone so brightly. I breathed crisp air as I pitched a wiffle-ball to my five year old brother, who had even less of an idea than I did about the fate of the world. And rightly so.
         My mom kept running in to check the TV,  I suppose. This wasn't the norm in our family; I still can't think of a time when my mother sat down to deliberately watch a news program. I couldn't comprehend why my favorite shows were replaced with horrified newscasters. I didn't understand that the fall of those two buildings represented the attack of our entire country, of my home in small-town Connecticut, of the values we have been fed, on the independence we gained. 

         I can't remember it clearly, but they must have explained something to me on that day, in their protective, parenting way. What a task adults must have faced, trying to convey the gravity, while not scaring their children, or bursting into tears themselves. My heart breaks for those who lost their parents and loved ones in the crash. To be a victim of a problem so huge, so much larger than any individual, that's a tragedy.
         When I read quotations from those who were there, who saw it happen, I don't even know what to feel. Some kind of melancholy sickness, wrapped with a small layer of hope knowing that, although so many lost their lives, so many survived. The New York Times has an interactive page, where people can share where they were and what they thought. It helps to show just how atrocious, frightening, and impactful 9/11 was for people around the world.
         That kind of catastrophe can't be dealt with lightly. I don't want to get into the ways we handled it as a nation, but I am going to say this. Now, ten years later, I understand a bit more. Just a bit. I have seen enough to know that we face problems as a nation and as a global community. It's stomach-churning to think about the horror that exists. Memories of September 2001 should be revisited, but they should be accompanied with hope for the future. If we keep our heads straight, we'll fare well.



The News - Jack Johnson 

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