I know I haven’t blogged lately and I’ll definitely get around to letting ya’ll know why, but today is the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
It stuns me that it’s been ten years. I realized this morning that my children have lived their whole lives under the overt threat of terrorism. They’ve been raised knowing we were attacked in New York. Train Boy was a baby and I was pregnant with Demolition Boy when 9/11 happened. Five years ago, when they had a ton of 9/11 shows, I couldn’t watch them. It still ripped my heart to hear the stories, to hear the pain when the survivors spoke.
Yesterday, I managed about fifteen minutes of “After 9/11” on CNN. It was kind of a weird montage of stories and experiences from the people who lived through it. I wondered, as I felt all those emotions again, why this was so much more powerful than listening to, say, a survivor of a horrific fire that took so many lives? Or a natural disaster of some kind?
I came to the conclusion that it’s because we were attacked by human beings. When Mother Nature attacks, we take it as our due. She wipes out thousands with floods, hurricans, and earthquakes. And though I still get choked up when I hear the stories of the people trapped under the I80 freeway in Oakland after the earthquake in 1989, it still doesn’t have the impact on me that hearing the story of a firefighter who rushed in the World Trade Center to save people.
We Americans are flawed, self-centered, and sometimes arrogant. But when we are faced with the horrific and daunting destruction whether by Hurricane Katrina or by terrorists, we have moments of greatness. Ten years ago, a group of airplane passengers crashed a plane rather than allow terrorists to succeed in their plan to destroy the White House. Ten years ago, men and women showed courage and bravery in the face of overwhelming destruction and devastation.
Yes, we will, as a country, remember 9/11 and probably forget the year Katrina hit. It was the day that human beings showed their worst side and their best side. We need to be reminded that, though mankind has the capability to cause great destruction, he can also stand firm and be brave.
Today, on our way to a football game for Train Boy, we will stop by St. Luke’s in Fortuna to lower the flag to half mast. To remember. When men are at their worst and do deeds of murder and mayhem, there are men who walk tall, who fight on, who believe that our country is worth fighting for, worth dying for.
To those of you still mourning, I wish you peace today.