Where were you?
What was going through your mind?
How did you feel?
If you were an adult on November 22, 1973, or 1983, you might have been answering these questions in regard to John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, as part of a ten or twenty year anniversary. This murderous act was part of twentieth century history that shocked many in the United States and around the world. As a child, I remember watching the black and white funeral procession on TV. I didn’t understand the magnitude of what happened at the time, I only saw a lot of sad faces.
Almost 38 years later, we were shocked again. Appalled. Saddened. Angered. Confused.
I was at work when, on September 11, 2001, two planes hijacked by al Qaeda were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center; when a third plane hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and when a courageous and selfless group of passengers caused a fourth plane to crash in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, before it could reach its intended target. Approximately 2,996 human lives were eventually lost between passengers, occupants of the buildings and fire/rescue workers.
My co-workers and I were stunned. I kept thinking, “No, no, no, this has to be a joke. It can’t be true.”
But it was true and as we listened to radio broadcasts, a silence came over the office. We stumbled around, unable to focus on much of anything. Since we didn’t have a TV in the office and no one had a smart phone with streaming news, we could only imagine what was happening and the devastation and chaos it was causing.
I had an oil change appointment after work that day, so it wasn’t until late afternoon, as I was watching TV in the waiting room, that the full force of what happened hit me. My mouth was gaping open in equal amounts of sadness and terror. My eyes could barely believe what they were seeing. How did this happen in the United States, where we’ve always been so far from terrorist attacks? I felt vulnerable and unsafe, as did millions of others in the hours, days, weeks, months and years after the attack. As a country, we note the anniversary every year, and I can’t help but feel that the trauma for those who lost a loved one in the attack carries on forever.
Twenty years later, where are we now? Our country struggles with climate change, social issues, a pandemic, political and religious differences, and how to deal with it all. September 11th will never be forgotten, but I feel we’ve lost the most important part of our healing from that day: A country and people united.
After 9/11, our petty differences didn’t seem important because we had a bigger job ahead in order to heal from this tragedy. Our days were about giving of ourselves in whatever way possible – financially, physically, in prayer, in giving blood, making meals, and whatever else was needed. We waved our country’s flag with humble pride and the understanding that we were all in this together. We got through the worst of it together.
Today, rather than disagreeing or arguing with your fellow humans about what’s happening in the country or the world, take the time to be kind to one another; to help one another; to be in concert with the entirety of the human race. Say a prayer or throw out a virtual hug for the friends and families that were affected by what happened on September 11th. Think back on how we came together as a people rather than creating divisions.
Be something more than what we were yesterday.
Be where we can move forward and affect positive change while paying homage to the sacrifice of those who are not here to experience life and remember with us.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is the brainchild of author Linda G. Hill. Every Friday, Linda provides her followers with an inspiring blogger’s prompt. It can be a word or words and sometimes bonus points are involved (my favorite). Linda asks us to write without editing, other than correcting spelling errors.
Just go with the flow.
Like a babbling brook or rain drops. Click HERE if this type of writing floats your boat or helps with your decision-making. Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “where.” Use it any way you’d like!