I almost didn’t write this.
It’s hard to say why, exactly, except that one reason is that I do not want to contribute to the static that inevitably seems to rise to a mind-numbing volume around inauspicious anniversaries such as this.
It should be hallowed. It should be revered.
Because that day changed me. It changed America. It changed the world.
It changed everything.
It’s impossible to describe the feelings I had that day, many of the same feelings everyone probably had then. The disbelief. The numbness. The heartbreak.
I heard the first report on my half hour drive into work. It was just a small plane, they said. Probably an accident.
By the time I got to the parking lot at work there had been another.
One thing was clear: it was NOT an accident.
I watched the news from the TV in the lobby of my office, along with about 100 other employees. We all were voicing our disbelief that anyone could be so brazen. Back then, hijacking planes was a known possibility, but flying them into buildings??!!
Then we heard there might be more than just the two, and that they were shutting down all air traffic for the first time in history.
In the lobby, we all gasped when the buildings fell. We all grasped for some sort of semblance of reality to hold on to, please God just something to which we can all look and say “Ah, that’s the real world.”
But that reality just didn’t come.
Then the Pentagon. And then Pennsylvania.
It just kept getting worse.
We watched the news, needing to know more, dreading to know more.
We speculated: Who did it? Are there more? Will they have nukes? Will they declare war?
We tried to explain it all to our young children, but how do you explain such a horrible thing?
No one knew ANYTHING then. And that lasted for months. Even after we thought we knew, we really didn’t.
The only thing we knew for certain was that a horrible tragedy had occurred, the result of a willingly executed act of inexplicable violence against the United States citizens. Many innocent people had died. Many innocent and heroic people had sacrificed themselves to help out their fellow citizens.
Eventually, we had a pretty good idea who had done it.
Not exact. Not precise.
But we had a good idea.
And we reacted, because that’s what you do when such a horrible act of violence is done against you and your people.
You fight back.
And I for one am not ashamed that we did something to fight back.
I believe the old quote that all that is required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.
I will never say that what we have done as a nation was/is/or ever will be perfect.
But we did something! I believe that you cannot allow yourself to become so frozen that you do nothing.
But even the fact that we reacted and did something in retaliation pales in comparison to the suffering that our friends, our neighbors, our loved ones, our PEOPLE, were subjected to.
And on this day, I remember them, the ones who died, the ones who suffered, the ones who are suffering still.
May you one day find peace.