Today I am remembering 9/11.
On September 11, 2001 I was 23 years old.
I had only one daughter… The Diva… and she had just turned 3.
We were in the car that morning- after dropping The Diva off at daycare, I would be on my way to work.
I worked in the corporate office of a large, well-known airport security company.
I heard it on the radio, just as The Diva and I had started our daily commute. The reports were sketchy, but the announcer said a plane had hit one of the towers at the World Trade Center in New York City. Probably just a Cessna, some inexperienced pilot that had accidentally strayed into the no-fly zone, and had lost his bearings.
After dropping The Diva off, returning to my car, I heard that the second tower had been hit, and suddenly, it dawned on me…
This was no accident.
Much of that first morning was a blur…
A plane hit the Pentagon… another, likely headed towards the White House, crashed in Pennsylvania.
Our company set TVs up, everywhere… not just to see the horror unfold… but because as an airport security company, there were concerns that perhaps these terrorists had passed through our checkpoints.
Did we let them in?
The FAA was in constant contact with our organization… and our CEO became more and more concerned that our company’s name be kept out of the media.
He told several people within the office to stop their regular duties immediately. We were given new job responsibilities.
We were instructed to read every single online article, every single print magazine, newspaper… everything that so much as mentioned 9/11… and if we saw our company’s name in print anywhere, we were instructed to notify him right away.
We combed through thousands of articles… day after day, hour after hour… it was horrifying.
Escaping this nightmare, even for a moment, wasn’t an option. We were inundated at work- all day- with stories of death, tragedy… widows, heroes, and…
When it was time to go home at night, we still didn’t get any reprieve… the radio spoke of nothing but this nightmare… and at home, it was the only thing on TV.
Days turned into weeks… shock turned into fear… and before long, fear turned to hate.
I hated those hijackers… I hated whoever was responsible for this sucker punch– right in the face of my great nation.
My hate grew and grew, the lines defining my hatred became more and more blurry until…
I could no longer make a distinction between those hateful people who caused this tragedy and the Middle-Easterners who had nothing to do with it whatsoever.
I hated Muslims… and most of all, I hated every single person from the Middle East.
I wanted a crater made out of that entire region. They did this to us. They have to pay.
I wanted blood, and I wanted it to be shed a thousand times worse than anything “they” ever could have imagined doing to us.
As is most often the case, my anger, after boiling over, finally began to subside… clearer thoughts began to prevail… and I realized I don’t hate Middle-Easterners… I hate what a few people did to my country…
I started to understand that my anger, my hatred, was misplaced.
I don’t hate Muslims… I hate the perversion a small few of them created. I don’t hate entire nations… let alone entire regions.
I began to understand, these people had as much to do with this tragedy as I did… which was nothing.
But it was too late.
My government had already preyed on my fears, preyed on my hatred, as well as on the fear and hatred of my fellow citizens, and exploited all of it to its fullest.
We were at war.
We had invaded a country that had absolutely nothing to do with bringing the perpetrators of the single most horrific event in recent history to justice.
We were over there ostensibly trying to keep them from attacking us over here.
Seven years later, we are still waging two seperate wars in the Middle East… our soldiers are dying, as are other innocent people the entire world over…
Worst of all, there is no end in sight.
I have since had another child. I have moved a few times, I have changed jobs twice, and I have divorced.
Things have changed, and yet nothing is different.
Am I any safer? Are you? Are our children?
We are not.
We are not fighting a war we can win, nor are we finding and seeking justice against those who threw that first sucker punch all those years ago…
We have created death that long ago surpassed what we witnessed on that fateful September 11, 2001… many of which involved our own soldiers…
Our own heroes.
We have made more enemies and have fewer friends.
I am outraged on behalf of the people that lost their lives on 9/11… on behalf of those who, as heroes, gave their lives to save others’, on behalf of those who were made widows that day, those who lost mothers or fathers, sisters and brothers…
On behalf of all the others who have given their lives since.
We owe them more than this.
We need change. Not more of the same.