Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reflections on 9/11 A Decade Later

Ten years have passed and a lot of things changed after September 11.  My son, just an infant a few weeks short of his six month milestone in 2001 is now a fifth grade student at our Neosho Middle School.  In that decade, my daughters moved from kindergarten at Field Elementary to Neosho High School and our family moved from our country home to our current home on one of Neosho’s hills. 
 I think that more Americans have pride in their nation today than they did ten years ago.  Despite the economic issues that plague our nation and many Americans on a very personal level, we’re still proud at the end of the day to be Americans.   Although I don’t see quite as many Old Glories flying from vehicles, I still hang my flag out on the front porch each day with an appreciation for this nation of ours that remains a great one.
 Homeland Security changed our lives forever and we’ve changed Presidents which, no matter what our party or personal preferences may be, always makes things change.  I’m pleased however that despite a lot of bickering between the two major parties, that our current President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush can put their differences aside to join together on 9/11 at Ground Zero to remember.
 Just as the attack on Pearl Harbor defined a generation in 1941, 9/11 will always remain a date that none of us shall ever forget.  I have already seen people recalling just where they were on that fateful day, what they were doing, and what they remember.   That moment when each of us heard the news for the first time remains surreal and I’ll never forget that second when I turned on the news after my husband called to ask what had happened.   I tuned in just before the Twin Towers collapsed and I saw it for the first time live.   The broadcaster, like me, had no words in those first moments.  It was and is indescribable.
 The most united I have ever seen America was in those first hours, days, and weeks after the 9/11 attacks.  As time passed and human nature being what it is people began to return to normal life and as many adjusted to their normal schedules, the regular routines, some of the horror faded.
 As a student of history I could understand better after 9/11 how terrible events affect the national consciousness and linger.  Yet if we did not move forward, go past such a tragic event then we would not only fail but we would give a victory to those who tried to divide and destroy a nation.  Instead, those who attacked our nation, spilled our citizens’ blood drew us all closer, like a huge collective family.
 In some ways it seems impossible that we could mark the tenth anniversary so soon, that those events that we all remember so well were more recent but in others, the events of 9/11 seem distant.  As I said, so many things have changed in all our lives since then.  Ten years reshapes the fabric of our life.  We lose loved ones, we gain others.  Children grow up and we change jobs, residences, drive different vehicles and more.
 I know that my personal life and my career have shifted in ways I could not have imagined on that September day ten years ago.  At the core, I am the same yet I, like my fellow Americans, was changed forever that day.
 As we remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, we mourn but yet we must also remember so that none of them ever died in vain.

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