September 11, 2001...As cliche as it may sound, I doubt any of us will ever forget where we were on that morning. I wrote a letter about it to the babies in their book of letters, and it was a little emotional to go back through those memories.
I was in my second year at our local junior college and living at home with my mom and sister. I worked at a local realty company, where I was headed that morning. I didn't have to go to school first, and I don't remember going later that day. I'm thinking maybe I didn't have class on Tuesdays that semester.
Anyway, I got up and was getting ready for work as usual. I was alone in the house, since my sister was in school and my mom was already at work, and I did not turn on the radio or tv. When I got in the car to leave (which would have been just a little before 9:00 central time), I turned on my favorite morning radio show. I could tell the tones of their voices were very serious, and I was only halfway down our street when I heard the host say, "It now seems that the United States is under attack." I really will never forget those words, and the fear and dread of that moment.
I was the first to arrive at work, and I quickly turned on the tv in the office. My co-workers and I pretty much spent the rest of the day in front of that tv. We were watching when the second tower fell, and we were watching when President Bush addressed the nation. In fact, I remember being glued to the news for the next several days, afraid I might miss something important if I stopped watching. I guess I was one of those people who got even more stressed by the round-the-clock coverage, so it was a bit of a relief when there was a call to decrease the coverage after a few weeks.
What I will remember about 9/11 is the way we, as Americans, suddenly felt so vulnerable. To me, the general public attitude in this country can be viewed as "before 9/11" and "after 9/11." Before, we did not worry about terrorist attacks and we did not see every public gathering or major event as a potential target. For most of us, I would say fear had no place in our day-to-day lives. After 9/11, it most certainly did...and for many, still does. We were shown a harsh reality-no, the United States is not invincible and is not exempt from threat.
One of the positives that came in the days and weeks following 9/11 was the feeling of community in this country. We came together to cry, to mourn, but eventually to stand strong and persevere...to prove that we will not be defeated (aww, look at me being all patriotic and stuff!) Unfortunately, I have seen that spirit of community fray around the edges again, in the face of fear and anger. The hatred that has taken root in the aftermath of that day is a whole other topic in itself, so I won't go there. How nice would it be, though, if we had managed to hold on to that feeling? If we all cared as much about one another and supported each other like we did in the weeks after that awful day?
Eight years later, as the wife of a law enforcement officer, I have a special place in my heart for the families who lost their loved ones when they rushed in to save others. I often selfishly pray that I never have to know what that feels like.