Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Letter to Brooks & Adlyn, 10 Years Later, 9/11/01

Dear Brooks & Adlyn,

I wanted to write you a letter to document my day on 9/11/01, so that you could know and someday understand.  I always find the personal stories fascinating when people share what they were doing when they heard about JFK being assassinated, or other moments of history.  I do recall the Oklahoma City Bombings, and the verdict of the O.J. Simpson Case.  But, for me, 9/11 serves as the major thing that happened in the world that I will be able to recall in my lifetime. 

I happened to be home from school that day, I was a senior in high school at the time.  That morning I had a doctor appointment because of stress fractures in my leg from running cross country.  It was a Tuesday, and my sister was home from college and must have been sleeping in my room that evening before, because for some strange reason, I was sleeping on the couch in the living room.  The first plane crash was at 8:46 AM ET, 6:46 AM our time.  Sometime between then and 9:03 AM ET, I had turned on the TV.  I turned it to Good Morning America or The Early Show.  I remember the newscasters didn't really know what was going on, but they were showing live footage of the World Trade Center in New York.  I didn't have my glasses on, and I am mostly blind without them, but I saw the second plane hit at 7:03 AM MT.  I was confused, as were most other people.  I continued to watch TV, trying to process what happened, and shortly after, left for Ogallala to go to the doctor.

Even at the doctor's office, everyone was glued to the radio.  They didn't have a TV, so even as I waited, everyone was more focused on the news then the daily tasks at hand.  I could hear the radio as I waited in my patient room.

I returned to school mid to late morning, and quickly realized everyone else knew what was going on as well.  I remember we moved from classroom to classroom each period, but class was the same.  We turned on the TV and watched.  Not a single teacher tried to accomplish a lesson plan.  Everyone seemed to be frozen in time.  There was nothing more important that keeping up on the latest details about the days events. 

Even when I got home from school, it was the same.  The family was glued to the TV, and the United States was frozen.  Nothing was happening.  Everything was cancelled.  There was a lot of fear.  We were supposed to be the top dogs in the world, and suddenly, we were blind-sided by terrorists.  I still wonder, how could we not have known?  How could such a master-plan be carried out?  I remember my library teacher/speech coach was in NYC the day before, and had just returned home the evening before.  It can hit close to home.  I thought of all of the people who were killed during the 9/11 attacks, so much grief, so much mourning, and so much mystery.  Some waited for loved ones as they dug through the rubble, trying to find some clue about what may have happened to them. 

As time went on, you could start to see the healing, the display of patriotism, and growth from what happened.  We became stronger.

Then there was the hunt for Osama bin Laden.  All I could think, as the hunt went on for nearly 10 years, was how could we not find him?  He is one man in the world...why can't we find him?  After a few years, I thought the US had killed him, and was keeping it quiet.  But, to our surprise, he was killed this year, just a few months ago.  On May 1, 2011, the US got him.  It couldn't have gone better.  It felt like closure!  The mission could not have been carried out in better fashion!  Go USA! 

We have so many people to thank for our freedom today.  I hope that you may come to understand the 9/11 happenings someday as you get older.  We were at church last night and Father had a good message regarding 9/11.  Note, I couldn't hear and focus on it all with two active two-year-olds, but I will share this.  He said, it is hard to define good, but we know it when we see it.  What happened was evil.


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