My Country. My World.
Tuesday Sept 11, 2001 the world changed dramatically. It got suddenly smaller and more intimate as people the world over watched in horror the opening salvo in the war on the ideals of freedom. It was my country that was attacked, America's citizens who have the largest number of casualities; but it was a call to arms for all free people everywhere. It was the World Trade Center buildings that were attacked first; an affront to free people everywhere. I cannot speak for the other countries that were included in this attack; but I can sure tell what it meant to me, an American.
Tuesday Sept 11, 2001 at a few minutes past 8:00 A.M. I stood watching live coverage of a horrible incident in which a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. As I watched the live coverage another airplane came into view, banking toward the other tower. "Oh my God. There's another one." I said as I watched in disbelief. For a brief instant I hoped that it was a trick of the camera angle, that the plane would miss the other tower. That hope died almost before it was born as a huge fireball errupted on the other side of the second tower.
The rest of that day passed in shock after shock as the horrible events unfolded. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed outside of Pittsburgh. For a while no one knew how many other planes might have been or were planned to be hijacked. The unthinkable happened. Our air transportation system was shut down. The skies were emptied of all except military aircraft. The stock market was closed. President Bush vowed to make no distinction between the perpetrators and those who aided them. Shock, anger, questions chased themselves around and around in my head and heart. I was glued to the television; and as I finally went to bed, praying that I would be able to sleep, I was also praying that I was experiencing a nightmare and would wake up the next morning to find that nothing had happened. Both of those prayers were unanswered.
Wednesday Sept 12, 2001 I awoke to find it was not a nightmare. This was my new reality. Looking out my window, nothing was changed yet everything had changed. We had been dealt a powerful blow; and it had staggered us. We were not safe in our own country. Sporting events, concerts, activities of all kinds were cancelled as the players and actors had no heart for them and it was feared that anything might be the next target. The unthinkable had happened; and all we had was rage and a burning desire to help, to understand. People lined up for blocks to donate blood. Rescue workers from all over the country poured into New York as fast as they could find a way to get there. Horrible scenes continued to pour out of the television. We cried and raged. We were afraid. People lined up in New York to cheer rescue workers and bring them food and water. Flags began to appear on homes, businesses, cars, everywhere that people could find to display them. Talk of war was everywhere. A generation that had never known war except in history books began to enlist. And like a sleeping giant all that was best in America began to wake.
As I sit here writting this, I still struggle to understand how this could have happened. How any person could will this on another. I still struggle with my rage; but I will not strike out blindly. I pray for my country, it's leaders, and for my world. My country has been defaced and defiled. My freedom has been threatened. The world of peace that so many have struggled so long and so hard for has been shattered. The free world economy has been threatened. And this cannot go unpunished. And this rage against injustice is the glue that holds us together.
People have come to America for generations looking for a new start, for a place to make of ourselves what we will, to be free to be and do as we will. We are a melting pot of the world, a nation of nations. We are proud of where we came from; and what we are now. We have made our share of mistakes. We are still trying to define what we are. We have gotten fat and lazy over the generations, complacent; but the needs and desires that brought our ancestors to this country still live on in us.
What the terrorists do not understand about America is that we are a nation born of rebels, of indepent people seeking freedom and hope for ourselves and our children. We would not stand for anything less than the best for ourselves and our children when we came here. We would not be pushed and bullied around when we came here. And we will not now. We will give up some freedoms for the freedom of others; but we will only give up so much. We cannot stand by and watch others be pushed and bullied. We cannot stand for children to go uneducated and unfed. We cannot let a friend go unaided when there is need or trouble. And we have friends and relatives all around the world.
We cry for those killed and injured; and we rage against those who did this to us and to our friends and fellow citizens. This is my country and my world; and it has been threatened. Look out terrorists. You have awakened the sleeping giant, threatened our children and our way of life. That is not allowed.
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This page created 18 Sep 2001.