Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11th became 9/11 on 9/11/01


September 11 used to be famous for being the 11th day of September. People with 9/11 birthdays celebrated them without any thought about it being anything other than their birthday. There were historical events that had occurred on that day in the past like Pete Rose's 4,192nd hit which gave him the all time baseball hits record. The Camp David Accords were agreed to on this date in 1979, and, coincidentally in 1941 ground was broken in Northern Virginia for what would become a large office complex for the then-United States Department of War and military known as the Pentagon.

September 11th's place in history changed at 8:46 a.m. in New York City in 2001. At that moment, terrorists crashed a hijacked airplane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. What is now known as the "September 11th Attacks" had begun. From that moment, September 11th was cemented, by no fault of its own, into our collective psyche just like December 7th or November 22nd or April 20th.

I can't tell you where I was or what I was doing on September 10, 2001. I can tell you almost every detail of what happened on September 11th. I can remember my feelings. I can remember the silence of no air traffic for the first time in my life. I can remember the feeling of helplessness I had when, for those minutes, we didn't know what was being attacked next. I can remember not sleeping that night because I kept seeing the North Tower crumble in my brain. When I close my eyes, and I think about it; I don't need a television replay or a video to remember.

Today, we honor those innocent people that lost their lives in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in that field in Pennsylvania. It's a holiday called Patriot Day, and we should all pause at some point and think about those folks. They represented the tapestry of the beauty of this country. They were old, middle aged, and young. They were rich, middle class, and poor. Some died knowing their fate and others died trying to rescue folks. They were all different religions, nationalities, races, and sexual orientations.

As we look back at the 2,977 victims from that day, I wonder this question. Do we honor them enough? How do you begin to honor these souls...many of which that died only because they went to work that day or decided to take a flight that day or decided to rush into a burning building that day? There is no proper way to honor them. We just do.

It's why we must never forget what September 11 has come to mean, and it's why we must endeavor to never let it happen to us again.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

On 9/11/2001, I was teaching a morning class at the University of Indianapolis. I got in my car to head home and flipped on Bob & Tom. I heard them talking about planes crasshing into the World Trade Center. I thought this is the worst joke ever. It took me awhile to figure out it wasn't some comedy bit they were doing.