Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today We Remember

Remember [re mem ber]
1) to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory; think of again
2) to retain in the memory; keep in mind; remain aware of

This is the post that everyone is writing about today, rightfully so. It is incredibly difficult writing about this horrific event that happened in the United States, just 10 years ago. There are no words that are quite fitting for describing this significant time. 

On the television this evening there was a special that described the terrorist attack events through the perspective of the firefighters. Their stories along with the images were so profound. What makes me so sick is that while so many thousands of innocent people died at the time, others are still dying from that awful day. Sadly, many firefighters are now dying from serious diseases and multiple cancers. Not only that but these heroes- firefighters and paramedics have dealt with serious PTSD since 9/11. These amazing men and women have endured mental and physical torture since then. Watching this documentary on tv was a good reminder that while this act of terrorism happened 10 years ago, so many are still suffering. 
I see the world so much differently than I did 10 years ago. When I looked back in my personal journals I was reminded of how much I was just a 14 year old, a new high school student, entering the 9th grade. Not only that but I was (and still) living in Oregon... 3,000 miles away. While I did write briefly about 9/11 and expressed some empathy-- I really didn't "get it" at the time. I was so much more consumed with my own "trials" as a hormonal teenager than as someone who truly cared about my fellow human beings.

Though I didn't express myself well in writing, I do remember being that young disoriented high school student waking up for another day in the school year. I remember sitting at the kitchen table in my PJs with unbrushed rumpled hair and eating cereal. I sat there as usual reading the cereal box and staring off into la-la land as I attempted to get my eyes to function and attempting to get myself to feel more alert...

I did feel somewhat odd that morning as I had a bizarre dream shortly before I woke up. This is something which I have not spoken about much as I haven't wanted people to accuse me of making it up. However, as it has stuck with me for all these years and I am fairly intuitive, I know it was a legitimate dream. So, before I woke up on that ironically beautiful September day... I dreamed of something unusual than all other dreams. In my sleep I saw a black screen with several neon green circles- like that of a air traffic controller's monitor. On that screen I saw two green lines parallel to each other. Then at one point, one small neon green line started to come towards those two parallel lines. 

Now, I understand.

I wouldn't say that I am able to foretell of events but I somehow had that vision that night. It wasn't until quite sometime after 9/11 that I realized what I had dreamed about. And as I said earlier, it is not something I talk openly about but on that morning, I felt very strange. The oddness of the dream certainly contributed to me feeling groggy as I shoveled the cereal into my mouth.

Not long after I had been eating breakfast, Dad came into the kitchen and announced that one of the World Trade Centers had been hit by a plane. At the time I had no idea what the WTC was and assumed it was an accident. That is also what my mom had assumed too- we didn't realize until we saw the news that it was a passenger plane that had hit one of the buildings. 

We immediately turned on the news and were stunned with what we saw happening. I remember being so confused and not comprehending anything. It took me a little bit to realize that the country was being attacked. 

Somehow in the midst of watching the news I managed to get myself ready for the day. Much of the day is blurry but I remember that when I got to school I felt so alone. Everything was eerily quiet and there was a sense of panic. Not only did I feel uncomfortable for what I knew was happening in the world, but I still had the challenge of trying to find the right classroom! 

The whole day at school was spent discussing the attacks and watching the news. I remember being in my first class and hearing about one of the planes hitting a location in Washington. Of course at the time, and feeling so scared, I assumed it was Washington State. Someone kindly corrected me and said it was Washington D.C. I remember feeling so fearful and vulnerable. We all wondered: What is going to happen next?

Walking home from school that day felt strange and lonely. The roads were quiet, the sky was quiet, the birds even seemed hidden away... I remember walking much faster that day, anxious to get into the safety of my house. On my walk home two fighter jets flew over and thankfully, I knew they were US forces protecting the country. I said out loud, "thank you." I watched them fly far away...
The rest of that day I can't remember but I know I spent plenty of time watching the news, as it recounted the days' events- people running, yelling, screaming, planes crashing, fire, seeing the towers fall, tears, massive clouds of debris and dust, flags everywhere... 

As I have seen these images again today I look at them with a much differently than I did as a 14 year old teenager. Today I look at the faces of these people, these precious human beings, and it makes my heart break. I can't help but be choked up seeing these pictures of pain and even of those of healing. I am touched, too, when I see pictures of perfect strangers giving a hand to another in need. This is the consistent storyline in the 9/11 events - the day which all Americans united. It's sad that this day is what brought people together, but in some ways, the small idealistic part in me likes to think that we are always this way. We just tend to share it more in times of trial- and for this reason, this is why it is good for us to remember. Not to only remember those that have fallen and sacrificed, but to remember that we have each other. Sappy sounding but true. A reminder that the distance from one another isn't so far at all.

To conclude my little contribution, that is now part of this large tapestry of stories, it is only appropriate that I express my thankfulness. I mentioned earlier that so many individuals are still suffering today from this tragedy.  We have firefighters suffering from diseases (along with other heroes) and cancers, and then there are those that have selflessly sacrificed their lives overseas. So, I am saying thank you to all military servicemen and women, those that protect us in the US, and to their families who also have sacrificed so much. 

Our lives are forever changed and for thousands, incredibly so. Today we remember. Nunca olvidaremos. We will never forget.


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