Sunday, September 11, 2011

This is just a dream...

So here's the thing, when I think about 9/11/01 I don't get choked up.  I was just a kid when this all happened and the one thing that I remember most about it was how unreal it all seemed.  Don't get me wrong.  I am aware of the tragedy that occurred and my heart goes out to all those who were affected and still are being affected by the events of that day and their consequences.

But as far as emotions go, it's as if I've never been able to really compute the information.  I had no idea what the twin towers even were until they were gone.  I remember we were all at home doing school when Mom came in and told us to come watch the TV.  She tried to explain to us the significance of these events and things seemed to become worse and worse with news of other planes.  I remember trying to make myself cry (because I was a weird kid and I thought that crying would be the appropriate reaction).   There were lots of cries of outrage around the world and Americans stood together, demanding that something be done.

But like all devastating events, this one was quickly forgotten by the majority of the world.  People moved on.  One thing I clearly remember is how very supportive everyone was of the War in Iraq.  I remember asking Dad if it was a just war and he and I going over the Church's standard for what constitutes a just war.  At that time, I really didn't know much about the war or even our government, so I didn't really have my answer, but I do remember that there were yellow ribbons and American flags everywhere for that year and much of the next.  Lot's of signs were about saying, "We Support Our Troops" and lots of country songs were written to rally in their support.

In retrospect, I do wish that I had been able to really grasp the significance of all these events at that time.  I wish that I had understood what those attacks and that war would mean for our country.

Now, years later, as we are still feeling the effects from this man-made catastrophe, my mind doesn't go the national or international ramifications of this day in history (though they are certainly great).  Rather, my heart goes out to the individuals who were most affected on/by that day.  My heart goes out to those who lost family members in those planes and buildings; to those who were expecting to see their loved ones again and never did; to those poor families who know that their children are responsible for the attacks and have to live with that knowledge; especially to those persons who think that 9/11 was in any way a victory for anyone.

Every time I've gotten on a plane since 9/11 I have wondered what I would do if my plane was hijacked.  I never know the answer.  But I do know that my life could end at any moment for countless reasons and so could yours.  This should not cause us to live in fear, but rather to live without regret, being the best version of ourselves we can possibly be.  If you knew that you were going to die today, what would be important to you?

I know that this post is a bit scattered and disorganized, but I wanted to write it anyway.  Let 9/11 be an occasion for reflection and prayer on the human condition and those poor souls who were most directly affected (in whatever ways) by that tragic day.