Letter: Reflections on the 10th anniversary of 9-11
It was clear and sunny that morning when we got up, drank our coffee and read the paper—the usual morning routine. I then turned on the television and suddenly it wasn’t an ordinary day anymore. At first, I felt shock and I couldn’t imagine any trained pilot making such a terrible mistake, and maybe something went wrong with the plane.
It was awful to think what those passengers went through and all the people in the Tower, but then we saw another plane heading into the other Tower and the horrifying understanding that this wasn’t an accident and we were under attack.
We couldn’t move or talk, all we could do is stand there watching it happen, feeling numb for a moment. But we weren’t numb for long—knowing what was happening to all those people in the buildings, the planes and on the ground. This was happening in America. It wasn’t supposed to ever happen, but it was, and it seemed to never end.
Suddenly, the numbness ended and all that sadness and pain began and I started to cry, to pray for those dying and hurting for no reason—simply for being there. I began to listen and digest the news that it wasn’t just happening in New York and we were at war, right here in America. We couldn’t stop watching, we had to understand and remember every bit of what was being done. As the morning wore on, I felt the anger getting stronger and I knew we would have to fight back, somewhere, but not on our soil again.
My faith and beliefs made me realize that we had become too comfortable, living on those mountain tops and ignoring what we always learn in the valleys. We had let our guard down and forgot a very important point, that we had to fight for our freedoms and comforts from the beginning. Those brave men and women who established our nation risked and often gave all they had—life and property—but they reminded us that we also would have to stand up and fight to keep her.
We are years past that terrible day, but we can’t become complacent again, because our enemies see us as weak when we do. I am old enough to remember another terrible day for America, when Pearl Harbor was attacked. I was very young, but never forgot the look on my father’s face and his voice when he called to my mother, "My God, Vi, they have bombed Pearl Harbor." My wish for all future generations is that they know enough hardship to not become lazy and enough freedom and joy to understand they must earn it to keep it.