In Memoriam of 9/11
7 years ago, I was a freshman in high school, and my biggest worry was how my peers --especially those of the female persuasion-- perceived me. On Monday, September 10th of that year, I had struck up a certain relationship with a young lady over our lunch period. The rest of the day, I was caught up in thought with her; everything from the way she walked to how she talked (I do mean everything). Even that night, when I got home after football practice, I found a message on my answering machine asking me to call her. I fell asleep without doing so.
The next morning I woke up at my normal time, 6:00 a.m. I turned on my local news cast and saw a picture that I couldn't quite grasp at the time. I tilted my head and rubbed the remnants of sleep from my eyes, allowing my eyes to focus on the television screen. What came into view wasn't the site one should wake up to: it was just after the first plane had hit the first tower.
I could faintly hear the reporters making out what was going on, though they, too were equally as dumbfounded. My body did something I had never wholly understood until that moment, and something to this day I can't fully explain: I slipped into a state of aloofness; a place away from where I was; somewhat of a protective aegis to shield me from what was happening before my very eyes. I felt a thick, almost plastic covering fold over me, cloaking me from the outside world. Then, shortly after I had slipped into this state of malaise complacency, the second plane barreled into the tower; and at once, the shield which had encased me was torn asunder, exposing me naked, before the world. In that moment... that moment, I learned the sense of true humility. At that moment, I realized that the peripheral world around me wasn't everything that mattered, nor was it really anything that mattered.
I can say we as a nation watched as our country suffered the worst terrorist attack on American soil in the United States history. We all, in essence, lost our innocence to loathsome attacks on this day at 9:00 a.m. on September 11th. Instead of beginning our days with a warm cup of coffee and a rundown of the police blotter, we sat in awe while 3,000+ lost their lives in a particularly gruesome way. We all lived and lost through it --the young lady I met lost her step-father to the attacks, I never saw her after the 10th.
The events that followed (the plane crashing into the Pentagon, and the heroes that protected their holiest of monuments to American Freedom, the white house, by overtaking the terrorist on their plane, and taking them down in the fields of Pennsylvania) were something the extremist zealots weren't expecting.
The second we as a nation were delivered from our honeymoon period of relative strength and safety to ground zero of the attacks in New York, we gazed up at the plume of smoke, as the papers that once marked the sign of our true economic freedom settled about us. And as the dust cleared and the mangled wreckage pierced its face through the cloud of fear and hate, we as Americans were met with an image that we weren't all expecting. Lady Liberty stood gallantly on the New York Bay, with New York city and the clouds of smoke and piles of wreckage as her backdrop. And it was in that moment that we as Americans, despite our party alliances, despite our differences in race, creed, morals, geographic position, language barriers, or whatever facet of civility that divided us then, we came together as one; as the United States of America.
So, it is with this great humility, and this central issue, this pinion, that I ask all of us, today, to put away our swords and shields. To commemorate those who lost their lives, and to pay homage to the men and women who gave theirs in the fight to bring those responsible to justice. I ask that we as a community, if only in this day, to respect one another and the great nation in which we live, to stop our partisan bickering and pay tribute to this day by a board long day of silence.
May all of our prayers go out to those who lost their lives as a result of these tragic attacks, and may all of our prayers go out to those who are affected by this day as much as we all are.
In the name of those, and in the name of America.