Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Remember

I had finished my graduate school course work the semester before and had moved to Illinois to do my internship and to complete my dissertation. I hadn't been here more than 6 weeks but I had already let them know that I wasn't a morning person. My supervisor gladly allowed me to work from 9am - 6pm instead of the usual 8-5pm. I was more than happy with that schedule. In my twenty something years of working I had never worked a regular 9-5.

My schedule also allowed me to catch the morning shows as I got ready for work. This particular day I was moving slow, real slow and was actually laying on the sofa watching Good Morning America. I remember the first plane hitting and thinking it was an awful accident. What was wrong with the pilot? How did he not see that huge building? Then the second plane hit and I knew - this was not an accident. I remember listening to the news reporters - I think it was Charlie Gibson at that time - as they went through the same thought process. No one really knew what to think. Were we under attack?

When I arrived at work the people were in a frantic state. Most people were out of their offices and a television was set up in the main conference room. In our brick building with no cable the feed wasn't clear but we still could make out the rest of the story regarding the Pentagon, the collapse of the towers, and the speculations as to what was happening. At the time I remember thinking it was directly connected to our government's foreign policies. For the life of me I could not understand how so many people would be killed in retaliation for government decisions. Hundreds of innocent lives lost - many of which who may not have even known our foreign policies. I was perplexed.

Although, I had many of my own feelings to process, my job was to aid others in their process. Our training director who works wonderfully in a crisis, immediately worked to set up make shift crisis counseling stations throughout campus. I don't remember how many people were directly affected by concerns for family and friends in the New York area.  There were at least a handful that came through to get support as they tried to reach relatives flying that day or working in the World Trade Center. Mostly, the people that came through our stations were people worried and frightened for our safety as a nation. Several hundred miles away from ground zero and we were all greatly affected. We were all affected throughout the entire year and years to come, from those who lost friends and family members to those who were deployed to the subsequent wars. Young men and women, putting aside their education, their future, their relationships and their families to check for weapons of mass destruction, to fight a war that many of us didn't understand.

So today I'm sitting and watching 9/11: Ten Years Later. It is the raw footage of the day as it happened through the eyes of a camera man. It is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It's a little overwhelming but I sit and watch because it's the least I can do. Too many people  have lost their lives in this 10 years so that we can remain free and safe. We Remember.

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