I Remember

If you are like me, you are old enough to remember where you were and what you were doing 11 years ago today.  I remember like it was yesterday, and the images are still very vivid to me.

I was starting my last year at FSU, and had spent the weekend enjoying a win at Doak Campbell Stadium.  My Tuesday classes did not start until 11, so I was not in a rush at all (I have ever really been in a rush in the mornings).  I woke up with my usual routine and turned on ESPN to catch the highlights from the previous night’s baseball action.  I don’t remember who was hosting SportsCenter with Stuart Scott that morning, but I remember being on my second viewing already.  I knew that they were supposed to be going to another highlight at this point, but Stuart was not telling me who was “as cool as the other side of the pillow” for some reason.  And then I realized why.  Something bigger than a baseball highlight or analysis of Monday Night Football was taking place.  A plane had hit the World Trade Center.  It was 8:46 am.

Like the rest of the country, I sat glued to my TV for the rest of the day.  I tried, in vain, to call my parents to try to make sense of it all.  In vain because everybody else in the country was calling someone and cell towers were jammed.

At first, I don’t recall being angry, scared, or sad.  I was more confused than anything.  Confused as to what exactly was going on.  I sat and watched a second airplane hit the World Trade Center.  I watched, live on TV, as people leapt from the burning buildings.  And I was confused.  I watched as coverage broke in to tell me that a plane had hit the Pentagon.  Still confused, but things were starting to take shape.  I watched as the towers fell, and then I was sad, scared, and angry all at once.  I watched all day and into the night, sometimes by myself, sometimes with friends.

I watched as President Bush spoke to the country from the Oval Office, and took comfort.  The country rallied together.

11 years later, the country seems very divided to me.  Both parties have politicized that day, and that is wrong.  No matter who you support, there is always someone ready to jump down your throat on Facebook or on a message board.  I will sometimes sit and read comments on the boards, and I am disgusted at the venom we so easily spew at each other.  I may not always agree with people on the other side of an issue, but I always respect their opinion.  I don’t always share my political views with people, not because I am not steadfast in what I believe (I am), but I really have no interest in engaging with people who will spew venom at me; I like to stay above that nonsense if I can.  I don’t share my views because I have seen other people share theirs and have friendships and relationships ruined; I guess that says a lot about the people involved that they will throw away relationships because someone else did not have their same view.

I guess maybe I like to think that we, as a country, still have a lot of September 12, 2001 in us.  It does not show as often as it should, but I believe it is in all of us.  Today, and every day, I remember those who perished on September 11, 2001, and those who have perished since in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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