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?