Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 - 10 Years later

I have about 12 hours of programming set to record on my Tivo today.  I plan on watching it all as soon as I can. 

I looked at pictures on MSN Friday at work.  When I started at the first picture I thought that it was sad.  By the 5th picture, I was 'there' again.  Back on 9/11/01, sitting in my Grandma's livingroom watching the whole thing unfold on the TV.  I can smell the smells, see the items around me and the sun shining in the windows, hear the phone ringing and talking with my Mom, feel the terror and uncertainty.  I am there again in an instant and it brings tears to my eyes and the same feeling of terror all over again.

Every year since then I watch the documentary from Jules and Gedeon Naudet.  I have had it saved on my Tivo since 2006.  Only this year it's not on my new Tivo.  I'm conflicted.  I want so much to watch it again.  I can't tell why I continue to watch it every year.  It's almost as though I force myself back to feeling the things I felt on that day and the days afterwards.  Almost like I have to keep re-feeling it to remind myself how bad it really was.  I think it's like losing all the veterans from Pearl Harbor.  I wasn't alive and the importance is not lost on me, but I can't FEEL it.  The veterans could feel it.

Today I am sad.  Sad that my innocence (and I did have innocence at 31 years old) was shattered in 2001.  Sad that the devastation that occurred on that day is still unfolding with first responders getting sick, no complete memorial yet, and arguments over who belongs at the memorial this year.  I'm sad that the American unity and bond that we felt in the days after 9/11/2001 seem to be gone.  I'm sad that the years since then have had wars in many countries with many service members killed.  I'm sad that our country has turned into a political firestorm that cannot seem to accomplish anything. 

Yes, at 31 I was innocent.  I think most people my age were.  We had never 'seen' war or attacks on US ground.  The innocence that I speak of was shattered with a realization that US is no longer a superpower that it untouchable.  I lived for 31 years thinking that I was so very safe while in the States.  That my government would protect me.  Now that I think about it, I think it was a combination of innocence and having my head in the sand.  At any rate, it was gone at 8:30am on 9/11/01.

I've talked about this before in prior blog posts.  While I didn't know anyone personally who died in the attacks I feel as though I was there.  It changed me for weeks afterwards.  I was glued to the TV 24 hours a day.  I was living alone at the time and would sit in front of the TV watching all the news and reports and thought I didn't want to see anymore at the time, I couldn't not watch.  It was as though my brain thought that I needed to watch in case something else happened.  In case there were more so that I was on top of it and not surprised.  I had trouble sleeping and working.  Eventually it passed, but it returns to me about this time every year.

So to all, I wish you a safe 9/11/2011.  I ask that you pause and remember the many who perished 10 years ago.  The innocent people in the towers, Pentagon and planes.  The first responders who gave their lives to rescue others.  The people who worked for months afterwards to find remains so the families could morn loved ones.  I ask that to remember that America is still struggling and that we all need to participate to help recover.  I ask that you hug your loved ones and do something that makes you happy.  To celebrate life and all that it entails - good and bad.

God Bless.

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