Thursday, September 11, 2014

Together We Stand

      When I was younger, I never understood how so many people of the older generations would say that they remember exactly where they were and what they were doing at the moment when President Kennedy was shot... That is, until that day.
I woke up, rolled over and turned the news on. I was confused for a minute... What? Huh? I snuggled my sweet little Michael further into the covers and walked out to the living room. My dad at the kitchen table, prepping to start cooking what was sure to be something awesome. "What's going on, dad?" I asked. Then he told me that in a freak accident, a plane had hit the North Tower... We carried on a conversation about what was happening, then I gasped as I watched the second plane hit the North Tower. "Dad!! Look!" I said. He told me that they were probably just replaying the plane hitting. I said "Dad, no, it's another plane... Look."

     I will never forget the look on his face. Now I knew it was bad because my dad was shook. My daddy didn't shake easily. At all. He abandoned the food and joined me in the living room. We continued watching together in total silence. I very vividly remember as the towers fell. I remember the footage of people running trying to get to safety. All the ash and dirt and debris pushing through the streets like a solid wall of mass destruction. I remember seeing everyone, absolutely covered in ash and dirt, looks of total shock frozen on their tear streaked faces. I remember flashing back to that Tommy Lee Jones movie, Volcano, where everyone is covered with volcanic ash and the child remarks, "look, we're all the same." or something to that effect. I remember thinking how alike we all suddenly were. How scared, how terrified and outraged we all were. I didn't personally lose anyone that day, or know anyone who did, but I will never ever forget any of it. People jumping out of windows in desperation... Those awful images are forever burned into my brain.

     I remember suddenly being so scared and uncertain about the world that I had brought my baby boy into. What kind of world was my 2 year old going to have to live in? And then I was grateful. I was grateful because not too long before this, I had planned on joining the Marines. It hadn't worked out because as an unmarried mom, I would have to sign custody of my son to my parents. That was the deal breaker. I had been so bummed about that until these very moments. I am grateful to all of our men and women who fought for us, then and now. I'm overwhelmed by the courage and strength and dedication of these people. Of their sacrifices. For us. But I know that I am not that person. I couldn't have done it. Thank you to those of you that have and do.

     I remember watching as the death count just kept rising higher and higher. How many daddies and mommies weren't coming home. Sons, daughter, brothers, sisters... I still cry every time I remember that day. In fact, I'm crying right now as I type this... Maybe you are, too? The days following this awful day tho, there was a shift. There was this unwavering sense of unity. Of "we are all the same and we are standing together in this." You could really truly feel it in the air, like electricity buzzing all around you. People said "hi" to each other on the streets. Strangers! They even smiled! Flags were everywhere, on clothes, on cars, on signs... I remember stopping before work to buy a bunch of carnations. Red ones and white ones that I tied together with blue ribbon. And I passed them out with hellos and smiles to people on the street.

     We truly became "one" as a nation. The way we were intended to be. We need to keep true to that. We are all brothers ans sisters, my friends. We need to stand tall, strong and together everyday, not just in the midst of tragedy.

     My love to all. We will truly never ever forget.

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