Editor’s Note: This is from one of my statuses on Facebook posted on 9/11/15. I’ve added to it because I feel like there’s a bit more to explore. Enjoy!!
On this day in 2001, America was terrorized. People’s lives were lost. Law Enforcement, fire fighters, and first responders died for their fellow Americans. On this day, fear gripped America. From that fear came unity.
I was a junior in high school just coming from my second hour class. The janitors wheeled TVs out to the Commons so we could watch the happenings in NY. I saw the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers, but I didn’t fully grasp the significance of it all. I remember feelings of fear, sadness, and despair coming over me. They made my heart thump in my chest. For the first time in a long while, I was scared. Miles from the devastation, yet it hit so close to home.
Some of the Air Force kids were genuinely scared their parents were going to war. One friend in particular was being pressed by another while we were sitting at lunch. “Are you scared? I would be.” “I’m fine,” the short, snappy reply came out with sharp uncertainty. The look on her face said everything but “I’m fine.” She was fearful.
At the time, my mom worked on the local Air Force base. I called her to see if she was okay – “The base is on lock down, but I’m okay.” I said okay and hung up with an unsettled feeling in my chest. “I can’t lose my mom. She’s my rock.”
Another group of guys had just enlisted in the Army National Guard a few days prior. They got the great speech of paying for college, and other benefits. There hadn’t been a major war since the Gulf War. So, why not sign up? How things can change in the matter of moments. One new recruit actually went home thinking he was going to get called to war that day.
Race, class, and creed didn’t matter in those moments. There was no hate for first responders and LEOs in those moments. The only thing that mattered were people.
How soon we forget.
I see a lot of people tagging #NeverForget, #AlwaysRemember, and #Remember911. However, looking at the state of America I can’t help but think we have forgotten a great deal.
Fifteen years later we are fighting amongst ourselves. Race vs Race, LEOs vs community (vice versa), Class vs Class, family vs family, opinion vs opinion, etc. The love for our fellow-man has waxed cold. In short, it’s straight up turmoil. What’s worse is so many Americans are deceived in thinking they are right because they chose a side in a meaningless battle. It feels like I’m in the 1960’s with less focus on family values.
Fifteen years later riots over police brutality and perceived racism (don’t get me started) have destroyed communities. Hatred has burnt hard-working business owner’s livelihoods to ashes in the street. Cops are being ambushed. Civilians are being shot. There is civil unrest.
Fifteen years later our two major presidential candidates can be classified as a bigot and a liar. One candidate, Jill Stein, is facing misdemeanor criminal charges for her role in defacing property at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Hillary Clinton is under serious fire for the Benghazi incident and deleting classified emails on an unsecure server. It’s been stated that Blackberry phones were smashed with hammers to get rid of some evidence in her case.
Fifteen years later a celebrity/businessman is running for President. A guy that people support despite his radical views simply because they are tired of the same shtick. I used to be baffled that anyone would get behind Donald Trump. He built his platform on Mexican stereotypes. He proposed banning all Muslims from the country suggesting every single one of them are terrorists. He brought the vile, filthy side of America out in full force, and he has a good chance of winning our presidency. I’m not baffled anymore. His campaign has made me see how hateful people have become. They call themselves the silent majority. Only silent for 8 years, but “now we’ve had enough.”
This is the worst election I have ever witnessed in my entire life.
I have to sit back and ask myself, is this what 9/11 means now? What are we remembering? What happened to the unification of being an American? It appears as though we have totally forgotten the horror and vulnerability of this tragic day. We don’t remember the feeling of helplessness gripping our hearts; a collective indescribable pain. We don’t remember turning to family, friends, and even total strangers for comfort; seeing them through loving eyes.
We don’t remember, and we are allowing the history to fade away
Gone is the unity of being American. Considering the country’s history, maybe there never truly was unity. However, for one day, we saw each other as people. What happened, America?
How soon we forget.