Monday, September 12, 2011

10 Years and 1 Day Later

Hello, everyone. I am taking today to reflect on the tragedy of the lives lost ten years ago, and prior to, and since September of 2001.

Because everyone likes to recollect where they were and what they were doing... I was just beginning my Junior year of high school. My first class of the morning was Drama (I loved acting and took it every year). We had just made our way to the auditorium to begin early rehearsal of our selected play for the Regional 1-Act Play Competition, when someone from the hallway stuck their head in the door and said there was something happening, that we needed to go back to our classroom, turn on the TV, and stay put until further notice. So we did, and we saw the live footage of the first tower having already been hit. It was obviously eerie and left me with a strange, distant feeling. The safest place I had ever known, my country and home, was under some sort of strange attack, no form of warfare I had ever known of or learned about.

When I saw the second tower of the World Trade Center being hit, I felt cold, overcome with chills, wondering if this was even real-- if it were really happening or if I was having one of those very strange dreams about being at school with very odd and unheard of things transpiring... After watching the news channel for what seemed like ages, I decided I was going to run away to Canada with my best friends at the time (I was 16, had just gotten my license a few months before, and was certain that running away would lead to safety and a better life since the U.S. was under some sort of attack).

Well, I never did run away to Canada. But I did come to have a passionate love for everyone around me, simply because it showed me how anything could truly happen to any of us at any time. I had lost loved ones prior to that, but seeing a dear high school employee (who I grew up knowing in my mom's church) sobbing in the hallway in my little town hundreds of miles away from New York, barely on the map... Seeing how it affected her because her son had been there in the towers that morning for a business meeting... And later, feeling relief alongside her to learn that his meeting had adjourned shortly before all the events of that day began to take place... It was odd having something so strange, distant, and foreign affecting someone so close to me, so far from the point of origin.

But the point of origin was not really so far away. It lies within our hearts, whether we like it or not. We've come to live with many changes, many things we could not have foreseen, and many freedoms jeopardized because of the interest of "safety" and "prevention". I have almost never been a deeply political person. I abhor politics and think them to be mostly superficial and inconsequential. But the events of that day began my understanding of politics in a new way, watching many debate the origins, point fingers, try to philosophize the who and what and why of it all, deem who was truly to blame, come up with remedies and counter-attacks and "if it were me, I'd do this..." and so forth. I never knew how complicated life would become, because until then, everything had seemed so clean and safe and innocent... And preserved.

While 9/11 changed much of that and was synonymous to the change in my life from a sweet, innocent, nerdy girl to trying to be a "punk" or someone other than who I really was, it somehow parallels with the craziness that such an event brought into all our lives, whether we realized it then or not, whether it was an "inside job" or not (as we all know there are many conspiracy theories about that...)-- the fact remains that it happened, that we saw people flinging themselves from windows aflame because falling to a quick death seemed better to them than dying slowly and painfully in an unstoppable furnace which would later collapse on itself, two times. I haven't forgotten the Pentagon, or the Pennsylvania crash. Everything began to happen so quickly as one thing after another befell our horrified country, stricken with terror (only the beginning of that word becoming over-used) and overcome with a fear so great at the possibility of losing everything we had taken for granted for so long.

So, I am like many who tried to cover the strange wounds inflicted on each of us on that awful and eerie day, and had somehow forgotten (without ever REALLY forgetting) the events on that cool September morning, all business-as-usual and not a care in the world other than what colleges to apply at or what concerts were coming up that I wanted to attend or what homework I had due in the next class... To facing a war that has endured into my adulthood, watching friends enlist in the armed forces, seeing the detrimental effects the war and PTSD would have on them as well as losing fellow soldiers amidst the efforts to somehow undo what had happened, to avenge the unavenged who fell in a battle they were unprepared for within two giant coffins of steel and glass and flames and ash.

We survived that day. And we must remember that while we pledge allegiance to our country and our flag, that this should not be our first allegiance... Our first allegiance, as Derek Webb said in a song once, "is to a King and a Kingdom". He oversees all, and regardless of what happens Earth-side, if we remain in Him, we have nothing to fear. God bless you all in the 10-year-wake of the loss of that day.

1 comment:

Becky said...

Very well said!