Here we are, September 11, 2011, 10 years after our nation suffered the most devastating attack of terrorism in our nation’s history. I lay here in bed, after having worked last evening and being due back at work in a few short hours, and while I am mentally and physically exhausted, I cannot sleep. My mind is filled with racing thoughts, remembering what happened on that Tuesday morning. I’m sure almost every single one of us remembers what happened that day in great detail. Who could forget? I remember the events of that morning quite well.
At the time I was living in Muscatine. I was the manager of the local movie theatre and we had a meeting in Des Moines that day for all the managers. My plan was to leave several hours earlier than I needed to so I had time to stop at the casino in Tama and win some money. As I was getting ready I got a call from one of my employees, Junior, asking if I had heard the news about some plane crashing into some building in New York. I turned on the news and watched. There was a lot of info that we just didn’t know at that point, and there was a lot of speculation regarding what had just happened. Until the second plane hit. At that moment I realized, nay, we all realized, the nature of what had occurred. We were under attack. WE WERE UNDER ATTACK. This was no accident. This was a deliberate act perpetrated by men who wished to hurt us, to damage our collective psyche.
And damage us they did, at least for a while. Personally, I cannot see an airplane up close and not immediately be overcome with anxiety. As time passes the feelings gradually become less intense, but the effects still linger with me. For quite a while after the attacks I worried about the possibilities of more horrors happening. I know I’m not the only one. Just last evening at work a coworker mentioned how she felt nervous that something might happen today, the anniversary of the attacks. And we live in Iowa. I know nothing will happen to us in Iowa.
Imagine how those who experienced person loss that day feel today. Those who lost family members or friends that day. Or those who were there and survived. I feel for those individuals, who have suffered so much because of the events of that day.
I feel grateful that the person behind this, Osama bin Laden, has been eliminated. Yet I did not celebrate his death. How tragic that many rejoiced upon hearing the news of his demise. However, symbolic as it may be, bin Laden’s death has provided some amount of closure to a painful situation. Yes, I just said bin Laden’s death was symbolic, and I’m sure you’ll agree, for who among us truly feels as if the threat against America has vanished? But like I said, I’m glad he is gone. The United States made a promise to find him, as a matter of justice, to the thousands of people who perished on 9/11, and find him we did.
Every year on the anniversary of the attacks we hear the familiar refrains, something along the likes of “Never Forget” or “Always Remember”. I am positive on this milestone anniversary, 10 years, we’ll hear more of it. And I hope that it is something that we mean, and not just something to say to sound as if we care, for this is one of the most significant events to happen in the lifetimes of people my age. We must never forget what happened and honor those who died.