I was a sophomore at the University of Northern Colorado that infamous Sept. 11, 2001. It’s definitely one of those “where were you when” moments and I’ve had at least two such moments in my life. The other was the Columbine shootings in 1999. I remember my radio alarm clock going off and it was news. I vaguely heard the DJ talk about there being an attack in New York and not really being all that alert, I thought to myself “ugh I don’t want to hear this right now,” hit the snooze button and rolled back over to sleep. I clearly didn’t understand the magnitude of what I was hearing.
I did eventually wake up though and I did listen to what was happening on television. I remember feeling more shock than anything, at least at first, as I watched not one, but two planes fly right into the the World Trade Center towers. It was like a bad Steven Segal movie. There was no way that this could be happening right now was my thought. Who could do such a thing? Terrorists… bullies… people filled with enough hate and anger they’d sacrifice not only themselves but innocent people for a so called cause.
I also remember hearing that while there were of course many lives lost, that it could have been so much worse; that many people weren’t even present that day as should have been. What a scary thought! It’s been 12 long years since then and the images of the towers collapsing, people running away in total terror and first responders doing what they always do… running in when everyone else just wants out, still resonate in my mind. It still feels like it couldn’t have happened… but it did.
Then there was Flight 93… the brave souls who in the final moments all became heros despite realizing their lives were coming to an end but refused to go down without a fight. Their fight prevented much worse harm. That is astonishing! That’s at least one thing these terrorists didn’t account for… resilience.
As always, my heart goes out to those who lost their lives – those in the planes at the different attack sites, the World Trade Center, the first responders in NYC and of course, the friends and families of all those folks. I can’t imagine the horror that must have been that day for all of them. The fear that must have been felt and total disbelief. It’s overwhelming. Today, I put on my Soldiers’ Angels t-shirt (while meant to remember our fallen military men and women), I feel it’s message is the same for this day – “Fallen but not forgotten.”
I can’t help but feel that these bullies, these terrorists, in many ways have won. They set out to scare people into their bidding and in this case, war. It’s been 12 years of fighting and I’m not real sure who’s winning, if anyone, or any any real progress has been made. It just feels like more and more people are more angry; there’s more hate and prejudice against one another, which in turn makes people want to fight more, not less. I agree that a response was needed; we can’t just allow terrorists to reign. I’m just not convinced all out war was the answer. Bullies love to pick on someone they believe to be weak; someone they can bully into having a negative reaction then sit back and laugh because they got their way.
I suppose I don’t want to get too preachy on a day of remembrance. I just hope that eventually people will remember those precious lives lost and all the lives lost since due to war in a way that will be productive. Fighting hate with more hate doesn’t absolve hate… it creates more. People have a right to be angry and hurt about what happened but if all that comes out is anger, then how can we expect to really win or to eradicate terror from our lives and the lives of others in other countries. I hope that we find a way to “fight” terror without giving them the satisfaction they probably already enjoy.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I hope that not only do we not forget what’s happened, but learn the important lessons so that we may move forward and not regress. My thoughts and prayers to all those beautiful lives lost 12 years ago and to their families and friends. May love from friends worldwide embrace you on this day and provide some comfort.
*Editor’s note: Yours truly was a dope and originally was going to type 9/11 but instead chose to type out Sept. 11 but accidently typed Sept. 9 in the mixup – I know better and it was just a typo that I missed. I’m sorry all!