Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
On this day ten years ago, I had three years of marriage behind me and we were eagerly expecting our first child. I was at work on the morning of September 11, 2001, when the news began to circulate in our office that something in America was very wrong. We turned on the television set in the city manager's office and a group of us stood there, too horrified to believe that what we were seeing could be real. I saw the second plane crash into the World Trade Center and I saw live images of those towers imploding. Thoughts of the magnitude of the loss of life overwhelmed me. I remember that I called Hubby at his office to make sure he was aware and safe, and I took a call from my mom. I spent my lunch hour that day sitting in my car listening to the unbelievable details on the news wire.
I raced home at the end of the day and planted myself in front of the TV. Hubby and I ordered Chinese food for dinner. As much as we wanted to, we couldn't tear ourselves away from the terrible pictures that meant that life in America would never be quite the same. I remember that I put my hands on my belly so I could feel Baby Goliath move and kick. I cried so much--for the lives that were lost that day, and for the new life that I would soon be bringing into the world.
In the days and weeks to follow, I remember the flood of emotion I felt as the country--MY country--began to rebuild. I remember how colors and ancestry and political parties became irrelevant, because all that mattered was that we were all Americans. I remember the flags and the yellow ribbons displayed. I remember feeling so very proud to be an American.
My boys weren't even alive before September 11, 2001. Life post-9/11 is the only life they've ever known. Hubby and I have never talked with them much about 9/11...not because we don't think it's important, but because we don't know how to explain to our children that there are evil people in the world who want to hurt us because we don't think or act like them. And because we don't know how to answer questions about thousands of innocent lives lost and a good, just God who loves everyone. But this past spring, when U.S. forces killed Osama Bin Laden, the questions started. And what I was afraid of is exactly what happened: they asked questions that I didn't have answers for.
What I do know, though, is that I want my boys to grow up to be men who love God, love people, and love their country. Today is a day for Hubby and me to remember, and for us to teach our sons to take pride in the life they have in the United States of America and to mean what they say when they recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Because we are indeed one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
Oh! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
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
Oer the land of the free and the home of the brave!