Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Where Were You?

No chaos tonight. No mayhem. Only thoughtful and respectful retrospection on one our nation's darkest days. My male two legger wrote this on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and I wanted to share it with you now.


Where were you?

11 September 2011 at 02:11
Where were you?
No, strike that. Where were you then? And where are you now?
    Exactly ten years ago today, I was driving to work when I heard the news that an aircraft had hit the World Trade Center.
    I had a 90 mile commute and so, as per my morning ritual, was listening to The Today Show on NBC Radio in my car. As I was pulling out of my driveway, Katie Couric told me that reports were coming in of an airplane striking one of the Twin Towers. This struck me as odd, but not especially alarming. I, like so many other people, assumed that a sight-seeing or small commuter aircraft had lost its way and ended up somehow not avoiding one of the two largest structures in the United States. It was not until the second airplane hit that I realized that we were instead, under attack.
      I will never forget the moment when our National Consciousness was forever altered. In an instant borne of fire and rubble, we went from "America The Invincible" to "America The Vulnerable".
     By the time I reached my workplace, the first tower had fallen, reports were starting to surface that the Pentagon had been hit and the second tower was in peril.
     At this point in time, frozen in my mind as indelibly as any experience I have ever witnessed, New York firefighters were continuing to rush into the second tower in an effort to save what citizens they could.
     Let's pause for a moment and think about this.
    Having just watched the first tower fall, knowing that many of their comrades had already perished, realizing that the second tower had suffered a similar attack and was bound to suffer a similar fate, New York firefighters and policemen continued to attempt to rescue people from a doomed building. I have no doubts whatsoever that they were fully aware of their impending doom. Yet they chose to stay and try to save one more innocent. Just one more person that started the day simply trying to earn a living for themselves and their families
     I am deeply ashamed to say that I cannot recall exactly how many people died in the towers that day.
     I am deeply ashamed to say that I do not know how many of them were rescuers.
     I am deeply ashamed to say that I am unable to recall even one name of the victims of this heinous act.
    I am a history buff. I pride myself on the fact that I can tell you the names of all the generals that fought at Gettysburg. But can I even tell you the flight number of the airplane that struck the Pentagon just ten short years ago?

     We live in a different world today. Strip searches at airports are common. We are not allowed to walk through security posts at airports without removing our shoes. Every holiday we celebrate is accompanied by a terrorist alert. The Fourth of July is a time of heightened awareness instead of being a time of heightened patriotism as it should be.
     Our world has changed. We have lost our innocence. We are no longer the "happy-go-lucky" society that we were on September tenth, 2001. instead, we are a group  of people that hide our nationality whenever we travel abroad for fear of violence. We have become afraid to be what our forefathers worked so hard to leave us.
   We have forgotten that we are Americans.
    The sacrifice that those incredibly brave rescuers made has gone by the wayside. They rushed into a building that they knew would be their final resting place to rescue citizens that had already been murdered by a handful of cowards. They died knowing full well that this was not war. This was murder
     Now we stand in line at the airport and grumble because we must remove our laptop from it's case. We gripe when the TSA asks us to leave a water bottle behind.
     Shame on us.
     I am not pointing fingers. I am as guilty as anyone, and probably guiltier than most.
    However, I realize how lucky I am.
I am alive.
I am free.
      Today, I ask that each and every one of my friends, takes a moment to reflect upon one of the darkest days in our history. Please do not simply think about the event. Ponder the extraordinary bravery that occurred ten years ago today. Ponder the sacrifice made since then by the men and women in uniform, and by their families.
      But most of all, ponder this:
Would I be willing to make the same sacrifice?
If we answer honestly, most of us (possibly including myself) would probably answer "No".
      This is what separates the heroes from the rest of us.


  1. Don't be ashamed!! Flight 77 struck the Pentagon. I SO remember where I was and I was glued to the TV once I woke to this Horrific Tragedy!! We need to remember, but we need to be mindful that we are also giving those responsible for these acts more of an audience. RIP those that were lost. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks

  2. It seems that the farther we move away from 9/11 the more it is lost to history. We are still faced with the same enemy now as we were then, and it appears that for the foreseeable future that threat will remain. We have lost our innocence. It seems like we loss a little more of being an "american" every day since that awful day.
    This was a beautiful post and yes I recall exactly where I was on at that moment and I always will. But also too there are many young people born since that event who have NO history to it. So to them it's just pictures on a TV. So for them it has little meaning except for what they've been told. If you didn't live through it, you didn't get the horror of it, and somehow time whitewashes that horror and for that I am fearful. WE should never forget. Never.

  3. good post....and so true. Mom is still amazed by the strength of those that ran TOWARD the buildings are people were running away. And we understand the running to safety part....but to have the strength to run towards it. we may not remember exact details, but the overarching impact on our lives and this country by those who sacrificed will not go unforgotten.

  4. simply superb. Your closing paragraphs cut to the quick. I also learned about it when our office manager had the Today Show on at work....I was on the phone with a friend from Cleveland when we heard about the first plane crashing...a number of us ran into the office to see what was going on. That is when we saw (on TV) the second plane crash. We worked on the 27th floor (out of 28) and we were all sent home (we were not permitted to use the elevators) I am in Michigan but everyone was afraid that all tall structures would be targets.
    The Heroes of 9/11 were definitely sent from above.

  5. What a beautiful tribute to all who died on 911...and to all the "first responders". I hope many read this and do take time to think, I know I did. I guess I am not surprised at how well written this was...considering your blog is a work of written art, Thank you so much!

    Take care,
    Lucy (silent MOD, Troy, Ohio)

  6. Wonderful tribute, thank you for sharing this with us. I am a Canadian, but recall absolutely where I was that day. We in a training course at the office when one of our staff came in to tell us that a plane had hit the first tower. When we went for coffee later that morning, we watched in horror as the first tower fell.
    Before going back to the training room I grabbed my radio at my desk and we set it up in the room and spent the rest of the morning listening, praying, and hoping against hope that it wouldn't be as bad as it turned out to be. Lunch found us back at the same restaurant watching more reports of the towers falling.
    I will never forget those moments, but for those who lost their family members, the workers and the rescuers who paid the ultimate price, must live with the memories everyday.
    Today in a meeting we had a moment of silence in rememberance.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Thanks for a very good post. I watched the entire thing play out on the TV and just thinking about it today gives me goose bumps. Every single person who lost his/her life was special and important, but you are correct in singling out the exceptionally brave men and women who worked tirelessly that day and for months seeking those lost when the towers came down. I did visit the World Trade Center in the 80s and went to the observation area; though I am very afraid of heights, and remember the incredible view. I cannot even imagine looking out my window on 9/11, as someone who worked there, to see an airplane barreling down on me. We are all fortunate to live in America, where actual wars have not come to our shores in centuries, but that does not mean we shouldn't be ever vigilant in our efforts to prevent another event such as 9/11. As a population we can be very spoiled and privileged, which continues to undermine our ability to grasp the fact that our reputation in other countries is very poor and we are not universally loved worldwide. I pray to God that no one anywhere will ever have to be part of a 9/11-type event. But I also pray that as a nation we never gorget what has happened and what could happen in the future. Getting off my soapbox now and going back to reading fun and frivolous things about cats. Janet