Sep 10, 2011

in remembrance

As the day inches closer, it is impossible to ignore. September 11th is upon us, and this year it's especially poignant.
I was fourteen years old when the twin towers fell. Like most people, I remember the moment I heard very clearly. I was homeschooled at the time, working on math problems in the kitchen when the house phone rang. My mother answered. I heard her gasp all the way from the other room and I knew something terrible had happened. She hung up the phone and told me that an airplane had flown into the World Trade Center. At the time, I didn't understand the magnitude of her words. I didn't even know what the World Trade Center was. But as soon as we flipped on our television, I understood.
I was fortunate enough to be somewhat distanced from these attacks. No one I knew or loved had been caught in the towers or trapped in those planes. Even though I was not personally involved, the significance of what happened that day still latched on to me. As I'm sure it did to most, if not every American.
As a nation, it changed us. It warped our views of the world, let us realize that we didn't exist in a tiny detached bubble. Terror and uncertainty, something that is a way of life for much of the world, suddenly became intimate with the American populace.
It changed the way we interacted with the rest of the world. It changed the way we traveled. It changed the way we told stories. (Come to think of it, was 9/11 the real force behind the rise of dystopian literature? Hm...)
While it introduced us to fear, it also revealed our strength and resilience as a nation. It showed us that we could meet that fear and rise above it. We could move forward with strength.
And so tomorrow, this is what I shall dwell on with confidence. I will remember the dead, but I will also learn to face my fears and move past them. The past can so easily paralyze us. But it doesn't have to control our future. That is in our hands. I think this is something we as a nation have done well. It is something I must remind myself of every day.
Here's to remembering and moving forward.

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