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Where were you?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I just listened to Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning" on the radio. 12 years ago today I was a college student working in retail at the local mall. I remember looking out from our store entrance towards the Radio Shack across the way, and seeing a crowd of people around the TVs in their windows and wondering what all the excitement was. I had no idea that they were watching the news broadcast of the first plane hitting the Twin Towers. When we finally found out what was going on, I remember sitting in our break room, stunned and shaken for awhile before I felt like I could drive home (they closed the mall).
A few days later, after airports had been reopened, I remember being frightened by a low flying plane as I drove down the interstate near the airport. I had never given a second thought to the planes flying through there before. All of my perceptions of reality, that invulnerability that I think many of us had taken for granted here in the US, had changed in that time. We assumed we were untouchable here, and now we know better. It was a lot like a child learning for the first time that there are dangers all around them, and while they might be shielded by their family and the adults in their lives, they can't be protected from everything.
Now, 12 years later, much of life as usual continues, but some things are changed permanently. For me personally, life has been very different. I've experienced my father, my cousin, and many close friends deploying to war zones over those years, where once they went on humanitarian missions after natural disasters. My fiance is in the pre-deployment stage and will be gone for most of the next year. I know when I fly out to see him one last time before he leaves the country, I need to be extra careful about how and what I pack to make it easier to get through airport security. When I fly through New York, the twin towers will not stand out against the skyline.
What has changed in your world due to 9/11?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I was in lower Manhattan that day. It was without a doubt the most frightening day of my life. I was tolerant before, I am still tolerant. I don't have a lot of patience, however, for extremists of any kind. I think extremism is what gets us to a day like 9/11.

    No one I know has deployed, we are all too old for that mostly. I have a nephew that was 2 then, and we hoped at that time we wouldn't get into a war that he would have to fight when he got older. I'm sad to see how much war there is, and that now at 14 there is a real possibility if he chooses to enlist that he would be fighting the same fight that came to our shores 12 years ago.

    Peace to you and many thanks to all who serve to keep us safe.
    1475 days ago
    Every year people share their stories of where they were... I think every year it serves to remind me that it was a moment seared into the memories of us all. I was in high school at the time and it was picture day... I had just gotten my school picture taken when a friend of mine who was a year older came up and told me that someone flew a plane into the world trade center in nyc, I thought he was joking (12 years later and I still don't take much of what Dave says seriously). It wasn't until I got to my next class, band, and the band teacher sent me outside with his cell phone to call my dad (another music teacher at another school district) which was when I knew something serious was really going on. My dad told me that schools were going to close early and that my grandfather would come to pick me up and take me home so I wouldn't panic about being left stranded at the closed school. By that point the tv was on in the band room so I became aware of what was truly going on, by the time I got home I just sent myself out into the woods to be alone I was so upset.

    At just shy of my 15th birthday, I was young enough for the event to somewhat form my world view - particularly the racial backlash that erupted in my community aimed at anyone with darkened skin and "middle eastern" facial features. I strove to learn more about the cultures that surrounded these insular groups that ordered this kind of attack, I wanted to be able to differentiate between the extremists and the more general culture, which is something that's been rewarding to explore.

    and I still avoid the tv.
    1475 days ago
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