#SoCS: Twenty Years Later

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.

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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!

25 responses to #SoCS: Twenty Years Later

  1. I’ll gladly say a prayer or two or three and hope we can move forward together like we did as a result of 9/11. It’s always good to hope, but I don’t think we’re ‘united’ anymore. We seem to be fractured. I guess I need to up the number of prayers.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Yes, Judy, we are fractured as a country and there are those that seem to like it that way. Keep praying for unity to return because I think we need all the help we can get.

  2. Astrid says:

    Indeed, it’s so sad that the country is no longer as united as it was twenty years ago. Last year, when the pandemic started, I felt that it connected people across the world, but now that it’s lasted for roughly 18 months, even my own country of the Netherlands is hugely divided.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Astrid, I don’t know what’s happened to us as a human race. We seem to be losing our resilience and empathy in times of crisis, rather than doing what’s best for the good of all. I hope some day we turn the tide on this, that we wake up and realize how much better “together” is for all.

      • Astrid says:

        I agree completely. I’m optimistic that will happen at some point.

  3. Gwen M. Plano says:

    9/11 is a day, much like the assassination of JFK, that I’ll never forget. You’ve beautifully captured some of the reasons why this particular day fills our hearts. If only, if only people would stop pointing fingers and instead pause and remember who we are — as humans, as Americans….maybe we could find ourselves again as a family. 💗

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’ve been looking at photos and watching news features and videos about 9/11 and I still tear up when I see the devastation and heartache. We did have an issue with anti-Muslim sentiments back then, but that seems to have waned as most of us understood that one person’s or a group’s vile act doesn’t reflect on everyone. We ARE part of one human family and I will never understand the need to be otherwise.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      That would be a great mantra for the people of this country who are acting as something less, Dan. I guess we simply have to keep going and be the “more” in our communities.

  4. Maggie says:

    I have difficulty finding the words, but you articulated what I could not. A difficult day to remember and I agree with Dan. Your words encouraging us to be better is what we should all be aiming for.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      “Better” is what I hope for the country and for my fellow humans. Life is so much easier without hate, anger and division. It’s so much happier, Maggie.

  5. henhouselady says:

    I remember watching the Kennedy funeral. I think I was six. On 9/11 I’d just put my kids on the bus for school. I planned to watch the news before getting ready for work. I thought about going to the school and bringing them home because there were planes falling out of the sky.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I think you and I are around the same age. I would also have been six two months before the assassination.
      I can’t imagine how frightened you and many other parents were for their children on that day. The country lost its innocence and its citizens became aware that they were not immune to terrorism at home. It was a kick-in-the-pants eye opener.

  6. Sending love and prayers across the miles Mary, all around the world people were with you in spirit on this day and every anniversary since 💞💜💞

  7. JoAnna says:

    It does seem strange how we were so unified after these tragedies yet we are so divided now. I suspect that politics, and how politicians have used fear, has contributed to that division. But we the people can still rise above the fear and become better than we were, better than we are. Thank you for this post.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome, JoAnna. You are correct that fear and the politicians who exploit it are contributing to our division. My hope is that we find our way to courage, enlightenment and love for one another.

  8. dweezer19 says:

    Like most people I remember exactly where I was. It was surreal to watch as it played out on air. 😞

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