It was about exactly this time – as I am writing this at 6:09 am on Friday September 11, 2015 – that I heard the reports for the first time. Two planes had crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City. Still brings chills to me…
It was unbelievable to me at the time time. I didn’t believe the person on the other end of the phone. I thought they must be delusional. Until I turned on the television…
14 years passes and it’s easy for the sadness, anger, and confusion to wane. That’s normal and part of the human condition. But I hope we as a nation and as a world never forget how we felt at that moment we heard and saw the the devastation, destruction, and tragic loss of lives. When we saw family members of those lost and feared lost….that look on their face and the deep empathy and sympathy we felt. Some of you reading this may have experienced more loss that fateful Tuesday morning. For you, I’m sure time hasn’t made the feelings any less painful.
It’s a beautiful Friday morning hear as I look outside (I’m actually guessing becasue it is still dark…). The NFL season is kicking off and its “Blue Friday” all over my neck of the woods. There are presidential races being waged, political hot buttons being pushed, and just plain normal Friday workday activities happening. And that’s all a good thing for us. I just encourage each of us to take a moment – not in despair, bitterness, or anger, but in sympathy, support, and respect – to honor and remember those that lost their lives, and those that had their lives forever altered becasue of the events that happened right now 14 years ago.
I was sitting here pecking away on my computer writing for my book. As I took a quick break, I realized that today is September 11th. It actually stopped me cold.
This day 13 years ago was perhaps the single most consequential event in my life (outside of family things like marriage and birth of children). I still know where I was and exactly what I was doing when I first heard the news reports. The anniversary the years directly after were poignant and powerful; yet now as time marches on, it’s become much easier to overlook as just another day. I’m glad something triggered in my head to remember. I hope it always will…
Maybe this blog post for you will do the same. All of us old enough to remember (which I’m guessing is all of you…I don’t think I have many 12 year olds reading my work) this day 13 years ago had different reactions, experiences, and feelings. I imagine it must be similar to those of my father’s generation and Pearl Harbor. That event this year will mark 73 years on December 7th. If this article allows you to briefly pause and remember all those who died this day in 2001, then I’m happy. Also recall those who lost family and friends; those that risked their lives and saw unspeakable things; and those who had lives forever altered.
As a History buff that studied all American history dating back to the Revolutionary War period, I was always fascinated by our times of conflict. Although I grew up during the Cold War era and was a young adult during Desert Storm, I really had never felt personally impacted by strife in our country. My life was really on the back end of Vietnam. My father quit high school at 17 years old to join the fighting in World War II, buoyed by the events of December 7, 1941 in which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called a “day that will live in infamy.” Even for a History major, these were really just words. Until September 11, 2001.
I remember this day 12 years ago so clearly. Barb and I were abut 6 months into our new home. The girls were getting ready to go to school – Mindy had just started junior high and Kelli was finishing her last year in grade school. I was getting ready to head out with my boss to a meeting being held in Gig Harbor by Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance. I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but I was ready for another Mariners game that night as they were having an historic season.
We received a call from one of our friends frantic about not sending her daughter to school that day. She was nearly hysterical. I tried to calm her down to understand her as she told me we were under attack. New York and Washington DC were targets. I thought she had lost her mind. She asked me, “haven’t you you been watching TV?” The answer was no. I usually didn’t in the morning. Barb and I quickly turned it on and watched in stunned disbelief and horror. Our “Day of Infamy” had arrived.
It’s 12 years later and I still feel affected. I am sure I always will. I didn’t know anyone that lost their life that day, nor anyone who lost someone. But in a very real sense, I feel like I knew every single person that died that day. We all lost family and friends.
It’s been nearly 72 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor. Generations have come and gone. I can say that even though I was only born about 20 years later, it never carried the weight I am sure it did for my father and his contemporaries. There are children in a 4th grade classroom somewhere today that weren’t yet born on September 11, 2001. As time goes on, I hope that we that who were there, physically and emotionally, will forever continue to remember and pray for the victims and their families. We owe it to them and to the generations that come. It was for us, a day that will forever live in infamy.
Prayers to all the victims and their families on this solemn remembrance.
I will never forget where I was and what I was doing 10 years ago yesterday. Running around in the morning trying to get the girls ready for school. I had an all-day meeting at an insurance company office with my boss. Barb was getting ready for work when she took a call from the lady who was going to pick up the girls in our carpool. She was “freaking out” and said she wasn’t comfortable going out and was staying at home with her daughter. We had no idea what she was talking about. She told us to turn on the television, which we did in time to see the second tower collapse. Everything changed at that moment.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years. The 9/11 attacks are the defining moment of my generation, just like Pearl Harbor was for my father. In 1941, President Roosevelt said that December 7th would be a “day that lived in infamy.” I fear that as we hit the 70th anniversary later this year, many have forgotten as generations pass. I also fear that the same may very well happen to 9/11 if we aren’t careful.
This week’s Extra Points is a tribute to all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 in New York, Washington D.C., and in the field in Pennsylvania; as well as the waters of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941.
This week’s quote -“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. ”
– President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001