Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9-11 Eleven Years Ago Today

911  Let Us NEVER Forget
Seems odd, almost unbelievable that it has been eleven years since that fateful day when America was changed occurred.  It is just after seven in the morning, and like on that day, I am sitting here in front of my computer drinking coffee, blogging instead of checking my email.  On that day I was already showered and dressed, would be driving my wife into work as her car was in for repairs.  She was running late but it was not an issue as I drove faster than she, would still have her at work well before nine.

It was after eight when I got us on the road, and by the time I got us onto the Sprain the first plane had already struck...it was odd, the day, the time, the flow of traffic, the sounds...everything had a surreal feel too it, odd enough that I turned on the radio to get a news report.  A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, a commercial aircraft...I knew it was terrorism.  As we approached the college, our ears glued to the radio, both of us stunned, the second tower was attacked. our nation under siege.  

Driving onto the campus that fateful morning it was obvious that peoples lives had changed forever...students, professor and staff alike were huddled in groups, some stood alone trying to reach loved ones who worked in the towers or close by, others sat on benches as tears ran down their cheeks.

I was upstairs in the office of one of the college's vice president's offices watching a small black and white television when the first tower collapsed, the visual bringing me to my knees as a scream gave voice to the agony I was feeling for those who in that moment were losing their lives.

Eleven years later my heart still breaks for those souls, for their families.  

A very dear friend of mine, Eric, lost half his company of comrades that day, firefighters who risked their lives trying to save the lives of others.  Another friend's daughter was doing her banking in the towers that morning...she lived, made it out...yet she is still haunted as she recalls one of the leaping bodies that landed on the pavement right there in front of her eyes as she watched the tragedy unfold.  She was frozen in place unable to move...a complete stranger racing toward safety saw her, scooped her up and carried her away from the scene.   Would she still be here with us today if not for his unselfish moment of bravery?

On campus they were working at closing it down, I had been unofficially assigned the task of walking around telling anyone I saw that the college was shutting down.  The task required more consoling than informing...how do you tell a weeping student that everything is going to be OK, that the loved one they cannot reach who works in the towers is going to be OK when you don't really quite believe it yourself?

Today, eleven years later I look at America and the aftermath of that day sad that we seem to have learned so little from what is one of the darkest days in our nation's history.  It had seemed as if the tragedy would draw us all together, "One nation under God", all our differences set aside as united we faced what had been done to all of us as a collective whole.  That sense of togetherness as we shared our pain lasted for far too short of a time, and today eleven years later we are a nation divided along party and philosophical lines as the American Dream seems to be going up in smoke...looking at this divisiveness, looking at a nation divided begs the question on this day of remembrance, "Are we really going to let the terrorist, those who oppose us win by defeating ourselves through an inability to compromise?
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
On 9/11 in the year 2001 those words meant something to each and every American, poignant words written in 1892 meant something again, the words "under God" which had been added to the pledge in 1954 seeming so appropriate as we all, as a nation, sat glued to our television praying for those who had died, praying that more survivors would somehow be found.  Today as then, we are a nation in crisis, then caused by outside forces, today caused by greed, Wall Street, politicians and divided loyalties...we over came that first crisis, honoring those who died on this special day of remembrance...question is, will we individually and collectively survive today's crisis, will we find a way to heal a nation divided and again find that common ground on which we all can stand united?

God bless those who died on 9/11, God bless those who lost loved ones on that fateful day, God bless those touched by the tragedy directly and indirectly, God Bless the United States of America.