Today is the 8th anniversary of 9/11. This was a tragic day in U.S. history - one of the few times since our great nation was created that we were attacked here on our soil - in our backyard. The term "National Security" was created - and it brought feelings of pride and unity to think of protecting our nation from further attack. Our nation was changed forever.
On 9/11/01, I was a young married mother of three small children. I was busily trying to get them out of bed, breakfasted, and ready for school. I was flustered. Then I got a call from my husband, who was stuck in typical Los Angeles traffic. He said, "Turn on the T.V.! You're not going to believe what just happened to the Twin Towers in New York! Watch the news, and can you call me back to update me?" I turned on the T.V. and watched with disbelief as they showed the same footage of panic and running over and over again with commentators trying to keep up with incoming information. When I first started watching, the towers were still standing and only one of them had been hit. Nobody even knew that it was a plane yet. They thought it was some kind of faulty gas line that had exploded. Then, while cameras rolled, the second plane flew into the other tower. I will never forget the shock in the news commentator's voice as the drama played out right in front of him. I couldn't believe that someone would actually fly a plane into a building accidentally (How could they NOT have seen it??). Very quickly after that, they determined that it was a terrorist attack. And then I got really angry. HOW DARE they attack American soil?! Who did they think they were? I didn't even know who "they" were yet, but in that moment, I hated them. Although we lived hundreds of miles away from Ground Zero, we felt the earth shake as those towers came down. I tried to watch the news coverage, but at the same time, keep my kids from getting panicky and scared. Suddenly my focus shifted as I remembered that I was a mom. Should I send the kids to school? For the first time ever, I wondered if they would be safe. I decided that I needed to maintain normalcy, and took them to school. Then I raced back home to watch the news coverage again. And to call all my loved ones to make sure they were ok. I was glued to the T.V. for days after the event. I identified with those brave New Yorkers. My heart ached for their loss. And I was unified with the entire country in our outrage at this atrocious act of terrorism. We fastened a huge U.S. flag to my son's window and left the light on late into the night to light it up. I wove red, white, and blue ribbons together to make bracelets for us to wear. And we flew flags from our car windows. Everybody did. There were shortages of U.S. flags in all the stores.
Today I am flying a U.S. flag in front of my house in remembrance. I wish I had a flag pole so I could fly it half-mast. My heart is still grieving. And I wonder when exactly it was, in the past eight years, that our national solidarity fell apart. I wish it didn't take a national emergency to make U.S. citizens unite in patriotism and loyalty to our country. In spite of all the contention between right and left, I for one, will never forget.