photo by Sarah E Photography
All over the blogosphere today are stories of where people were when the tragedies of 9-11-01 happened. I could tell you where I was and how I heard the news, but I would rather tell you about what I remember the most.
I remember the After. I remember the streets and sidewalks being very empty. I remember radio stations playing only news coverage, for DAYS after. Mostly, I remember the American flag. It was everywhere, from the bumper of the passing car to the t-shirt of the man at the bus stop. Being an American wasn’t just about the place you lived, it was a feeling, a belief, a hope, a strength.
I felt like I was a part of a large community that extended from the furthest lighthouse in Maine to the sunny beaches of California. We were one nation, one. While the tragedies took place in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC- they were merely an extension of my home. Because when you struck one of us, you struck all of us. It was a sentiment that was felt and lived all over the nation during the “after”. Men and women from all over the nation turned out to give blood, help with relief efforts, anything to be a part of rebuilding and strengthening. Sometimes it was just the simple act of checking on your neighbor.
The horrific events of the day still haunt many people, the stories of the heroes that were born out of those tragedies still live on, the memorials still attract visitors; but the feelings of unity no longer exist.
If I can edit a quote by President Lincoln: “A house(read Nation) divided against itself cannot stand.”
In the 10 years that have followed 9-11, we have divided ourselves. Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Rich, Poor, Educated, Religious, Tea Party, the labels we give to differentiate ourselves can sometimes divide.
I worry for the feelings that will come in the upcoming election year. Will our houses divide into even tinier factions? Can we stand together united in a hope for a better nation, can we see beyond the figure head that leads for a given time? A few years back I was babysitting a child, who at the tender age of four told me (more than once) that our President was a bad man and that he should be shot. To say I was aghast was an understatement!
I will continue to teach my children the principles that I want them to live by, the principles I believe in. I will also teach them to respect people who think differently. I will teach them to respect the office of President, because there should be a sense of reverence and respect for whomever holds the office.
While “my” candidate may or may win the election, I will continue to hope for a better nation. I will hope that whomever will lead our nation for the next four years will be a man or woman that I can respect as a person (even if I don’t agree with their politics). An individual that believes America is great and can continue to be an example to the world.
So, on this day, September 11, when I see the phrase “We will Never Forget”; I will never forget the what it feels like to be united with my fellow Americans. Because on that day, and every day I am proud to be an American.