Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering and Reflecting on 9-11

I was sitting on my bed, having one of those rare mother-of-newborn moments of actually drying off from a shower. My daughter was born on September 5, 2001. She was in her little bounce chair watching me put my clothes and listening to me banter with her father as the Today Shower with Katie Couric was doing their usual bit.

Then everything changed...in a moment.

There was the Breaking News Alert flashing on the screen and then Katie Couric mentioning that a plane crashed into one of the towers in New York. I sat down and called to my husband who was just stepping out of the shower in our master suite. He was doing his morning routine and listening.

Then, right before my eyes and right as I picked up my daughter, the planes hit the second of the Twin Towers and life changed. "Did you see that!" I yelled at my husband. He quick stepped into the room and stood in utter dismay as we saw this building collapse before our eyes. I held my daughter tighter.

Emotions began to run through us as the news team was scrambling to figure out what happened. My husband and I did the mental count of anyone we knew in New York City. It was a jolt.

I think before we could digest that, the breaking news came on again about the plane going down in Philadelphia. What was happening? I think, I, like other Americans who watched, felt this crippling fear and tightening of the chest. This was not usual for our country.

The days, weeks, and months that followed were a view of our shifting country. Eight years later, I think it was a bad shift.

Ultra patriotism became the norm of the day and if you were not flying the flag, you were not "American enough." I watched as then President Bush insisted that we had to fight these Weapons of Mass Destruction and launched us into an unending "War on Terror." Young men by the droves signed up to defend this country.

I remember returning to work in March 2002 after a six month maternity leave. When I had to go on my first business trip, I was subjected to the searching of my person and my luggage. The country was on heightened alert and everyone was suspect, especially if you looked exotic. I had twists, wonder what would be the case now that I have dread locs?

The biggest thing that shocked me in the still infancy of this war and security clearance was when I flew to Arizona in December 2002 to my niece's graduation. My daughter and I had to go through security and they would not let me hold her close to me while we went through the metal detectors. I had to hold her out, legs dangling, arm length away from me. It was traumatic, and we had to try to put our shoes back on, gather our luggage, and make our flight on time.

Since 911 I have moved to the other side of the state, watched two sons graduate from high school, one enlisted in the Navy and is in Japan. The country is still at war, went from one country to another, the supposed culprit, still unpunished. The rhetoric has been enough to make me sick to my stomach. And then to find out, with the advent of the election of the first black president and unearthed evidence, there were no WMDs and the whole thing was a lie from the previous administration.

My daughter just celebrated her eighth birthday. She is tall, vibrant, loves to read, loves to sing and perform, wants to be a writer and is a big sister of a precocious five-year-old. Their entire lives, we have been at war. The losses have been more than the 3000 precious souls lost on 9-11. I wonder, when will it end.

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