All week, I've thought about what to say today, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and honestly, I've had a hard time with it. I mean, here I am, a supposed "writer" -- someone who can form "profound" statements out of a clever placement of carefully chosen words -- and yet I'm drawing a blank.
Not that I can't think of a million things to say... I can remember where I was that morning... I can remember that my first thoughts when I woke up and walked out into my sun-filled living room were something along the lines of, "what a perfect day." Isn't that crazy? My first thought on September 11th was that it was a PERFECT day. That changed much too quickly...
I can remember seeing those images of the planes hitting the towers, aired over and over and over on nearly every channel imaginable... and, consequently, I STILL can't watch that footage without breaking down. I saw it too many times that day... I saw it so many times that it's been burned into my memory. I tried not to think about what the people on those planes must've been feeling, when they realized the path their hijackers were flying... and yet I still had nightmares for weeks afterward that I was a passenger on one of those planes -- thankfully, I woke up from that terrifying nightmare when my dream-plane hit the building. The fact that people had to literally live and die that way is more horrible than I want to imagine...
I can remember that I spent much of September 12th logged onto the internet, searching for information about Islam to counter my ignorance and the inevitable rumors and accusations that would follow... searching for verses from the Qur'an... searching for an explanation for the nonsensical ramblings of Nostradamus (how many ridiculous internet rumors were flying around about Nostradamus and 9/11??)... searching for ANYTHING that had absolutely NOTHING to do with the attacks. I must've watched more of the Travel Channel than I'd ever watched in my life... and I've watched a LOT of the Travel Channel...
But I can also remember the hope and the determination that slowly returned to everyday life... I remember my first trip back into the city after 9/11, for a Yankee playoff game, in a stadium filled with fans who just wanted to be excited about our national pastime -- and that game is still THE most awesome baseball game I've ever attended. I remember eventually feeling like the world was NOT coming to an end, and like perhaps we DID have a future of some sort.
And I remember wanting to get back on a plane and see the world, without letting what happened on 9/11 scare me into a life limited to ground travel. That can never happen. I will never be deterred from exploring this planet and all it has to offer. I will never allow the cowardice of a few who claim to speak for an entire group to prevent me from learning the truth from those who are willing to teach me.
And yet none of this truly does justice to this day, or to the people who lost their lives, or the people who lost loved ones, or the people whose lives have been affected in a myriad of ways.
And, to different extents, perhaps that is all of us.
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!