Today is 9/11. 13 years since the day our country and world changed forever. My parents and their generation remember where they were when JFK was shot, and I suppose my generation will always remember 9/11 as clearly. My children's generation has already largely forgotten.
Where were you? I was in my room getting dressed, thinking about what to wear to work that day. The day was warm and the sun was bright. The sky was a most beautiful shade of blue that September morning in Wisconsin.
When the first plane hit, I thought it was odd, how could a plane plow into a huge building on such a bight and sunny day in the middle of the city? When I went downstairs to feed the kids before school I put it on the big television. I wanted them just to see this because it was so strange- I mean how often does a small plane pilot itself into a huge building like that? The announcer on television was saying that the airspace had been cleared around the trade centers as routine precaution.
Together, we watched a plane enter the picture from the right side of the screen and swing around to slam directly into the other tower and explode into a fireball. For a moment there was dead silence except for the sound of the explosion on the television. Then I looked at my boys and said, "We are being attacked, this is no accident."
Suddenly the world changed. You know the story by now, it is told over and over....
When the Pentagon was struck, and the rumors of the remaining planes aiming for the White House and Capitol were circulating, I was in shock sitting on the living room floor watching in horror as the fires burned. Eventually the first building collapsed in a thunderous cloud of smoke, glass, drywall - and human remains. What a stunning site.
The plane that went down in the Pennsylvania field...the second tower falling...
I do believe I was in shock all day, and even for a few days afterward. After a while, seeing all that destruction, and the unimaginable human suffering of those who were desperately searching and hoping their loved ones would be found among the buildings remains was heart wrenching. The picture walls that went up, the candles, the flags that were everywhere.
Even the unusual and miraculous event of our political leaders standing hand in hand on the steps of the Capitol singing together. What a time of unity. We were all Americans in those days. We seemed to love one another deeper, and be more American somehow.
I hoped it would last. As usual, agendas and foolishness got in the way and shortly thereafter our political forces were once again at odds. Criticism, divisions, and un-American and unpatriotic talk again took over.
Slowly, gradually, our national pride faded along with the flags we all proudly flew on 9/11/2001. I recall a mere 6 years after that horrible day, our flag was the only flag on display in our neighborhood.
Much has happened to us as a nation since that day, little of it good. Even less that honors God or the memories of those innocents who perished that day, or the brave ones who ran toward danger rather than away from it.
I weep for my country and I pray we will regain a moral and political balance.
Do something today to honor the memories of those who were killed in New York, the Pentagon, Shanksville and Benghazi Libya on 9/11, Fly the flag, say a prayer, thank a Vet, watch a memorial on television and talk about what happened.