On This Day Twelve Years Ago
September is a month of mixed emotions for me. First, it’s my birth month so I should be happy about that. However, in recent years, September also meant the loss of people I came to know, one in a car accident, another in a shooting, and another through suicide. As emotionally draining as those events were, nothing could prepare me for what happened on this day twelve years ago which has now made this date in human history a tragedy of epic proportions.
I couldn’t believe the news footage. In fact, I thought it was a movie until my family sat down and realized the truth. The first tower had already come down and they showed repeat after repeat. When the second tower was hit and then the Pentagon, I think I stopped breathing for awhile.
We have family and friends in New York. Fortunately, they were alright. Unfortunately, that was not the case for many other families and friends. I think it took me several weeks to pull myself out of the misery by association.
What right did I have to be affected? I was so far removed from the events because a) I was on the other side of the world, different continent, different hemisphere, and b) I didn’t personally know anyone involved.
And yet, I dragged myself through the day and wept at any given moment.
Because we are all connected. This world is so vast and yet in the grand scheme of things, we’re tiny specks in the known universe.
As I writer, I want to craft stories that examine why people do what they do. It’s the why that always get me.
And it’s the why that devastated me twelve years ago. It still hits me today. I cannot watch any footage about that day without crying.
Am I far removed? Am I not involved?
This dark moment in our history affects us all and despite the gravity of the situation and whatever heinous machinations behind the attacks, it is a reflection of who we are as people.
I am affected. I am involved.
When we understand the why of things–and the why may not be as rational as one expects–it will help us learn, grow, communicate better, and ultimately reach beyond the ordinary and become better than we are. We have the potential. We just need to make the effort.
Try as I might to ignore September 11, 2001, I cannot and will not. In some cases you truly cannot leave the past behind. However, it should not haunt us year after year. Rather, twelve years hence, we are wiser, stronger, and I’d like to think better people than we were on that day.
To me, as painful as the memory still is, I see hope in the aftermath. And I hope and pray for humanity.