Those of you who know me, know that I’m not prone to delve into too much political stuff here on this platform. Sure there’s an article here or there that I post. But this day is different.
Ten years ago today, I was living in Anaheim. My roommate opened the door to wake me up. “You’d better get up and come see this. Somebody blew up the world trade center.” I stumbled, bleary eyed, downstairs and we watched on TV and we saw how deep the devastation was as it unfolded. I remember tears coming to my eyes and the instant need to call my family. The thought that the need for control was so strong in some, that they felt compelled to kill to attain it, was sickening to my stomach. The vision of smoke emanating from the towers and watching them crumble as hundreds ran for safety, is something that I’ll always remember. Watching smoke curl up from the Pentagon, and hearing of the plane wreckage was chilling. We were under attack. I remember thinking, “Where are they going to hit us next?”
The news station replayed the devastation all day. Not since World War 2, had we received such a blow. Those of us at home, on American soil, were reminded how good we had it, how far removed we were from living in war torn countries plagued with civil unrest.
When I called home, my brother who had just come back to Portland on leave from the military, had to go back to his post and my family was on the way out the door to take him there. I was promised a phone call when they got him there. I didn’t get to say goodbye to him in person then. But he had my prayers. I didn’t get to say goodbye to him in person again when he shipped out for Afghanistan later. But I was thankful that I did get to speak to him by phone and was comforted by his voice, and I had no frame of reference for what he was about to face.
In the following days, I saw Americans become kinder with each other, even if it was just for a moment. I saw an outpouring of support for the rescuers who rushed to the site and started pulling people out of the wreckage, with no regard to their own life. They were only filled with the desire to save the precious innocent still living, and to get those who’s time had come too abruptly, back to their families, so that they may pay their respects and have the closure they needed.
I saw people reach out and come to the aid of those who suffered great loss, millions coming together to donate food, clothing, money and shelter to the victims in New York City. People opened their homes to aid those who had been stranded because airports were closed. Hotels gave away free nights. There was an air of patriotism I had never seen in my lifetime, and it’s a time of patriotism I imagine only war can bring.
Today I remember and honor those living and those who gave their lives during that time and the years moving forward. War is hell. War is unnatural. I don’t like it it. Nobody does. I resent that we were drawn into it the way we were.
But I am DAMN thankful that there are people willing to stand up and fight for it regardless. That there are people fighting against injustice, intolerance, and willing to fight to keep freedom alive in our country as well as around the world.
My hope is that everybody honors those we lost, and strives to create a world of peace, starting in their very own homes. May it serve to remind us what’s really important as we journey through life, that intolerance and injustice should no longer be acceptable and stops here. Starting with us. That we continue to try to bring a message of peace for future generations, no matter how hopeless we feel about it.
Don’t let all this, all the sacrifice, be for naught.
Thank you for listening.