13 years ago our whole outlook on the world changed. I got a phone call from my best friend to turn to a news channel-any one because it really didn’t matter. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. At the time it was thought to be accidental. And then the 2nd plane hit, in came the news about the Pentagon being hit and a 4th plane missing with the speculation it was aimed for the White House.
I sat there stunned and numb. Should I get my daughter from school? At 4, she wouldn’t understand. My 3 year old son certainly didn’t understand why he wasn’t watching Blue’s Clues. We lived in such a remote town in western Maine surely there wasn’t any threats to us. Disbelief and horror overtook me watching desperate souls jumping from the towers. The unthinkable happened-they fell. The lost 4th plane crashed in Pennsylvania.
During the days, weeks and months that followed the country came together with a renewed determination that we stand with each other. I was able to travel to Ground Zero. There was reverence, sorrow, support, prayers and love for everyone lost.
There are no words to describe the appreciation I feel toward our first responders and their families. They run into the dangers. Even knowing that these buildings were unstable, they gave the ultimate sacrifice to attempt to save people they didn’t know. To the silent heroes of Flight 93 who gave their lives to make sure that our nation’s capital was not attacked. We know the stories of the innocent civilians and military personnel that were in the buildings and perished.
In the midst of our world’s chaos on this day, we come together as a country again to mourn the losses and to celebrate the heroes. Survivors are interviewed, we are updated on babies that were born on that day and we ask each other if they remember what they were doing the day our country changed. We were united in common goals. To find survivors and to bring home those who had perished. To offer up prayers for the souls lost. Street vendors stayed to make sure essential personnel were fed. Restaurants delivered meals. Clothing, personal care items were donated and given out. On this day we remember our solidarity.
And then that feeling of togetherness fades. We go back to fighting over politics. Conspiracy theorists begin again on why the US was hit. And it saddens me. I know other countries deal with terrorism on a constant basis. I know we have the threat of world war. I know we have civil unrest over racial divides. But I also know that when we join together in a common goal, this country is capable of greatness. That is what I take away on this day-the admiration and the hope we can join together again to help our fellow man not only in the face of horror, but also in everyday moments. That we all CAN get along. I know that there will always be terrorism. Not everyone will be able to get along. But there is always hope. So thank you to first responders, nurses, doctors, military personnel and volunteers who give of themselves to help their fellow man. Thank you to the everyday heroes that go unnoticed but continue to do.