Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I really should have posted this yesterday...

Yesterday was a big day for this country. It is a traumatic day for a lot of this country. It is a day of mourning, a day of remembrance, a humbling day. 

I am not going to write a post about 9/11. Well, I am sort of going to write a post about 9/11. This post is totally about 9/11.

Tini posted on Facebook, and I quote, 

"As I read everyone's status updates today, I realize something. Either none of these people really felt the way they're saying when the towers fell, or, the more likely option, I'm just a bad American. I remember being angry that footage of the attacks was monopolizing the air time on like, every channel. I realize that now I would respond differently, that I would recognize the profound impact the attacks would have my country and my people. However, at the time, I just wanted to veg out in front of my favorite after school specials. I'm just being real here."

I don't fault what he said. He was being honest. I believe he was 11 when it happened, so obviously his response is not going to be the same as someone like me, who was days from turning 20. I was an adult. An adult who was devastated and terrified. 

What was also shocking was that most of the responses he got (from his peers...who are his age) were equally indifferent to the day. 

It is surreal to me that someone a mere 9 or so years younger than me can have such a different impression. When we are together, a part of me feels older, yes, but it's not like we don't have a blast. It's not like he isn't a close friend of mine. It is strange that the experience of 9/11 is such a different one. I just assume everyone is as affected as I was. It is strange that this particular day is the first time I have really felt the age in our friendship.

I remember thinking it wasn't real. I remember tears streaming down my face as I watched the second plane hit. I remember being scared to stay in the city and driving to my parents house 30 miles away. I remember watching Air Force One fly over their house. 

Our country was under attack. And it was horrifying. I don't support war. I probably never will, even though I logically understand the reason for it. I don't have an alternative solution, I just don't like violence as a means to end violence. But, on that day, I felt cornered and vulnerable and if someone said, this will never happen again if we go to war, I am not sure I wouldn't have jumped on that band wagon. I would have regretted it, but that day made me feel like nothing I have ever experienced before or after. 

Someone compared it to Columbine and I disagreed. That was teenage boys. This was a terrorist group attacking us. Who knows how many educated adult males willing to die to to bring down our country. To kill our citizens. 

The man who killed Osama bin Laden was interviewed on 60 minutes this week. He was humble and respectful, but the story of finding him, of killing him, left me with chills. It was closure. And as much as I abhor violence, this was a justified end. 

(Yes, the conspiratorial theorist in me doesn't believe a word of it, but the hopeful me wants it all to be true.)

It blows my mind that people I am friends with have little emotional ties to this day. It blows my mind that my children will read about it in history books and never really understand it. 

I suppose my mother feels the same way about the JFK assassination. And generations before about tragedies that happened in their lifetimes. 

I will never, ever forget the feeling of that day. Or how surreal it felt, 11 years later, to find out that not everyone feels the same.


Rachael Heiner said...

I have a son who is 6 years old, and I know he has no idea of the significance of September 11. I read another post a couple of days ago where a woman was talking about teaching her children about what happened from a young age (4 or 5). I don't think that's useful or necessary personally. I agree with you that it could be comparable to JFK or even to people who lived through the bombings of Hiroshima & Nagosaki - even as US Citizens, if something like that happened while I was alive I'd be sick and devastated. I did not post about September 11. I didn't post on Facebook or my blog, and I largely avoided any coverage of it. I'm having a hard year, and for me that's an emotional strain I just can't handle.

J o s e y said...

Wow. Weird. 9/11 was/is such a powerful moment in time for me. Crazy to think that it's probably not that way for my youngest siblings (they were 10 and 12 at the time). Weird.