Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th - where were you?

5 years.

5 years ago today it was a sunny (yet still wet) day in the central belt of Scotland, and I was happy because we got out of college early and I was going to be able to get home to watch one of my favorite UK shows, "Watercolour Challenge" -- I came in the house, turned on the kettle and fixed myself a cup of tea and I think a sandwich of some kind... sat in the recliner, put my feet up and turned on the tv -- and when I turned on the telly it took me awhile to figure out what they were talking about.

I sat there, so far away in another country -- numb. It takes me awhile to understand my own emotions, and it wasn't until my good friend Wendy called me and asked if I was watching tv, and that she and her mum, Norma were on their way, that I started to cry. They stayed with me until himself got home. It was a cry of unbelief, to watch people jumping from windows to escape a fiery death. To hear about the plane crashes, and the thwarted but still fatal flight of United Airlines Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. To hear reports of people who were above the twin towers crash point, calling loved ones and having to leave messages.

I can't imagine being on the receiving end of getting home, knowing what is happening, picking up my voice mail, or seeing a flashing light indicating a message is waiting.... and hearing my loved one's voice. Incomprehensible for me. Oh God, the pain.

I wrote a list of thoughts & emotions from that day - it took me more than a week to reach out to friends who worked at the SWRO American Airlines reservations call center. To talk to any loved ones -- I felt removed, not everyone in the country I was living in was flying American Flags... but the British lost countrymen and women in the tragedy, and they were sympathetic and demonstrated their outrage and sadness. And a few British television personalities / reporters were callous enough to say that the Brits had been dealing with terrorism for years, essentially implying that we (Americans) needed to just get on with it... that we'd joined the rest of the world and that we were no longer untouched or unreachable from the fingers of terrorists.

Our young little country had quickly lost something.

We can never go back.

And now we can't have liquids (that we've brought ourselves) aboard an airplane. We wear slip-on shoes. Travel stopped being fun a long time ago, but now it is worse than a hassle. It is invasive. It is intrusive. It is a torment.

And this country, built on immigrants, is clamoring to close its borders, have one national language, and we're trying to hold on to our freedoms for life, in fear.

I'm not wallowing ~ but I am taking a moment to remember.

On this day of remembrance, dwell on those you love. Pick up the phone and let someone you love know that you love them. Choose the good stuff.

For us born after JFK was shot, and who are too young to remember Elvis' death, this is a defining of a generation... where were you on 9/11 2001?

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