Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You?

Today is September 11th. It is one of those days, branded into history books, where everyone remembers what they were doing when they heard planes had flown into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

David and I were living in Provo. I had arrived first at my office, as usual, and decided to check my email before I began my daily tasks. My sister had written an email that said, "So, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have been hit. Last days, anyone?"

That's weird, I thought. I wonder what she is talking about. As other workers filed into the office, and as I did a little browsing on the internet, the true horror of what was taking place hit me full force. We were under attack.

Many of my coworkers were gathering in the front office. Someone hooked up a TV in the executive suite and I strung my phone over to the door, so I could watch. We all sat there in dumbfounded silence as we watched the World Trade Center towers come down. The estimates of casualties then were in the tens of thousands. We couldn't do anything but stare at the TV screen.

David stopped by my office on a break from his classes. We hugged. We shared our feelings of disbelief. It was such a strange day. I don't think I was able to tear my eyes away from the television until late into the night. It was a feeling reaching beyond surreal. It just couldn't be happening.

This morning I watched a few minutes of a "Countdown to Ground Zero" special on the History Channel. What struck me most was the image of a sign hanging on a building adjacent to the World Trade Center, declaring: "We Will Never Forget". On September 12th, I would have agreed with that statement. But looking back on that day, I realize how much we have already forgotten. Remember all the flags, and all the "God Bless Americas", the senators with flag pins, the church services, the charity events? How quickly we have forgotten those priorities. It's every man for himself again. 9/11 is thought by some to be a conspiracy theory, America is seen as a horrible country, and presidential candidates are afraid to wear flag pins lest they offend some foreign national living in America.

We just don't know how good we have it, living in this country. We enjoy freedoms that no other people in the history of the world have had. People still clamor at our borders to get in, to make a better life for themselves. I don't know of any other country that can say the same for itself.

There is just something special about this nation. And I'm so proud to be an American.

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