So I guess everyone has their story about where they were, how they felt on the morning of 9/11 and how they have changed from it. My feelings about all the media madness, flag waving and vigils are conflicted. I understand and acknowledge the pain, but I resist the brainwashing. A lost life is a lost life, I can’t hold lost lives any higher in esteem than I hold the 6236 soldiers that have died since 2001, the lives of those across waters who die at our hand or the lives lost in natural disasters everywhere.
But still, the images of that morning and the days after are imprinted on my soul. And I feel it is important for me to finally write down, if for no other reason than to share with my grandchildren. I was at work and was called back to the executive directors conference room. I walked into the room happy and in just a few seconds, felt myself melting into the floor. There were about ten others, watching silently in horror and then the second plane hit. Panic came over me, adrenaline starting pumping, My only thought is that I needed to be with my son. I left immediately and got to the school right before they decided that they were not going to release any kids. Still today, you do not have a right to pick your child up from school in the case of a disaster/emergency! Elan tells me they were watching in their classrooms. I couldn’t believe they did that, events such as these require parental guidance in my opinion. He was just 7! (reasons number 108 and 109 not to send your kids to public school) So we get home, curled up on the couch together watched the news. We were in shock. We couldn’t get through to our friends and family in NY. The pentagon got hit. Another plane is down in PA. I tried to comfort him but words failed and instead we just cried and snuggled and hoped the attacks were done. I don’t remember much of the days following, it felt like the news was always on somewhere. Soon, the warmth of people coming together, people reaching out to everyone, our shared grief. Quickly, the flags came out, on porches, on cars, on buildings. Emergency prep plans ensued. Then came anger, chest pounding. War became imminent. The world had changed.
And after ten years, time hasn’t shaken this shadow, we’ve been locked into this dysfunctional state of patriotism and fear. Our psyches unable to heal properly. We have responded to terrorism with terrorism... internationally and domestically. At the expense of our sense of true american spirit, we have evolved into a new militarized nation. We spend billions if not trillions on this shift, meanwhile our economy spirals down the drain. Social systems that once made us great, are suddenly wasteful. Ideology that my grandparents came here for, is just to liberal. Where once we created and the whole world followed, now we fight. We have become destructive and have lost the pride in being productive.
I know, I sound like a pessimistic, sentimentalist. I just remember a time when I was wearing a uniform, saluted the flag daily, was proud to be an American. I was just beginning to take my blinders off back then, so a lot of that bliss was ignorance. But still, since 9/11, I have refused to have a flag (either on my porch, on my car or on my body) and I don’t ever see myself getting over that. I have grown hard in my mistrust of government and lack of faith in the power of the people. I am a patriot. One that scrutinizes and questions everything, but one none the less. And I am ridiculously offended by the attempts to manipulate that patriotism.
At the end of the day, I won’t even go to the place that says how we should have reacted and evolved, because the truth is...everything is perfect and I am learning to have faith in that. It is our lesson to bear witness to and suffer from so that we can grow.