I remember thinking many times in my life, “Gosh, what must it have been like to be alive when Pearl Harbor was bombed? To wake up and hear on the family radio that such a thing had happened? How shocking it must have been…” There are a few other similar incidents in history that made me wonder the same thing.
And then came September 11th.
I worked in this small office that handled billing for a cancer center. I got to work hearing that something had happened but none of us knew what was going on. Very different rumors and stories and something about a plane hitting a building and the boss said he was going to leave and bring a TV back to work and I can’t remember anymore why we couldn’t just watch the story in the Internet. Has the Internet come that far since 2001?
At some point they finally sent us home for the day and I turned on the TV to see the horror of what was going on. I was in such shock. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as the details came in that the Towers just…just…collapsed in seconds. It was like something out of a science fiction movie.
I was alone as my boyfriend still lived two hours away and I only saw him on the weekends and he worked nights and waking him only made him very grouchy because he hadn’t realized the full extent of what was happening yet.
But finally, as the day and days past, this is what I remember.
And incident designed to tear this country apart did exactly the opposite.
Not only were there the heroes who helped at Ground Zero and throughout the city and state. No. There was more.
People of all ages and beliefs and religious beliefs and sexes and sexualities and races and more immediately came together, working side by side not only at Ground Zero, but all over the world. What those terrorist did was prove the very good of the United States as well as this planet.
Over and over and over I hear and read people talking about how horrible people are today and crying, “What is this world coming to?” I see posts of Facebook crammed with negativity saying what a awful world we live in.
I saw and see people shrugging off their differences and coming together. I see them standing side by side and helping each other. I see people giving their lives to help other people. That is what I see.
And before I focus (God, I am crying here) on the 2,996 people who died and the more than 6,000 injured, I will and do remember that we, as a people, we refused to be afraid, but stood together in bravery and in love.
And said, and say, we remember. We will not forget.
I was feeling a bit lonely and blue last night. This morning I feel connected to my country and the world. And I am not afraid. I am not worried about what might happen next. I know the world is changing and becoming a better place and I am convinced we are beginning to see one of the most significant and transforming and awakenings in human history.
And I am a witness to it.