Let me briefly preface this blog post by saying that while it is not about writing, or “Incandescence”, or related topics… it is about something important and even though this is primarily a writing blog, sometimes, the things I think just have to come out.
Before 2001, September 11th had no more significance to me than any other day. It was the birthday of a guy I had crushed on for years in Middle & High School, but that’s all. Just another day of work and school and life.
Then 9/11 happened.
I was up really early that morning. Something like, 5 a.m. on the West Coast, and I had been writing (okay, and possibly playing a web-based roleplaying game) instead of studying or preparing for classes to start. I was living with my mother at the time, and she was up at that ungodly hour as well, watching the stock market tumble on the CNN ticker obsessively. The effect it was having on her investments was awful and she was not sleeping well at the time (being a widow with a full-time job, a mortgage and a daughter working full-time and going to school full-time takes its stressful toll).
I heard her gasp from my bedroom and then she called out for me to get in there, quick. I remember stubbing my toe on the leg of my half-moon Ikea desk as I ran out to the living room. It was happening in real time. The planes, the people leaping from windows to escape the fires & explosions, the towers coming down. I couldn’t breathe for a minute, an hour. We were transfixed, teary-eyed, unable to look away. It didn’t seem real — it had to be impossible, an attack like that. Who? What? How? Why?
In the days that followed, I was truly proud to be an American. Proud of how we rallied around each other as a nation. Over the years, that solidarity has dimished again. We are once again divided. Its an election year and one of the most heated I have ever experienced. I won’t spout the cliché about standing together or falling divided (except, I sort of just did, huh?) but I think its true.
I wish we could find a way to return to the sentiments of that day, without enduring further tragedy. I wish we could learn to live and let live, to not separate ourselves from each other based on superficial things like race or even deeper issues like religon, to exist peacefully and supportively with our fellow man. I think that we forget so easily, especially in this ADHD age where everything moves at a rapid pace, that at our cores, at the most basic level, are are all the same.
We share the same atoms, the same origins, the same blood.
Maybe we don’t all believe the same things, but that’s okay. Diversity is good. Acceptance is better still. And while I cannot say that I am proud of all the events that occurred in the wake of 9/11, of knee-jerk reactions, I can state emphatically, that I remain proud to be an American.
Before 2001, September 11th was just another day. Now, it makes me stop and reflect, remember and honor those who have fallen, write rambly blogs about it, and despite the fact that its been almost 15 years since I saw him, wonder whatever happened to that curly-haired boy I adored.
Love & Rainbows,