Have We Forgotten??

Crickets singing slowly outside, mint chocolate chip ice cream melting on my palate, flipping between the Dukes of Hazzard Marathon and A-Team Marathon, three rowdy little boys safe and snug as bugs in their beds, Mt. Washmore sitting on the love seat, waiting to be folding (job security) and sitting next to my hubby on the couch while a cool breeze floats through the winder.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

I just finished reading one of the ‘freshly pressed’ blog posts on WordPress, http://mikelamonica.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/where-we-you-on-911/.  Like many, throughout today, I’ve sat back and reflected on life since Sept. 11th, 2001.   There’s probably not a person who doesn’t remember where there were.  Where was I?  I was driving to work on Emerson St. in the city I worked in about 50 min. from here.   I could even show you the house I was passing at the time things began to unfold.  At first the news was reporting a small plane which had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.  Once at my desk I turned my radio on for everyone to listen.  By then 10 min. had passed and co-workers were assembling around our cubicle grid.  We were hearing unconfirmed reports of a large passenger plane crashing into the first tower and flames pouring out.

There was one significant moment that I’m reminder of often.  It still angers me to this day.  One of our rather arrogant co-workers walked by and told us to sit down, we were wasting our time.  It it was merely a prop plane.  Who cares?  ‘It doesn’t affect me so I don’t care.’  My blood is boiling just replaying that moment.

Sadly this reaction resonated the attitudes and mind-set of many in our country.  The arrogant, self-absorbed, lavish and untouchable.  Much like we see in our college age generation right now….they can have what they want, when they want and for nothing.  It makes me wonder if there isn’t a connection between today’s attitudes and how they processed the events of 911 when they were in 4th, 5th or 6th grade.

As the day continued we cried when the second tower was hit, speechless and then dumbfounded when the towers tumbled to the ground.  When the Pentagon was hit, it became personal to me.  My mom’s cousin was a general in the Navy and worked in the Pentagon building.  It was a long 24 hours before we received confirmation of her safety.  She had been on the other side of the building.  Then there was a missing plane.  It’s hard to compare all of the events of that day but the loss of that plane and sacrifice each person made is so incredible heartbreaking.

The days following were probably the proudest I’ve ever been as an American.  The city where I worked came together like magnets on a refrigerator.  The Red Cross had set up temporary headquarters in one of larger grocery stores in town.  Radio stations began broadcasting and helping collect money.  Our department sold ribbons for $0.50 and raised lots of money which was given to a large Red Cross dropoff location.  When I took the money I remember vividly the large semi-trailer next to a crane where our flag hung at half mask.  The radio personalities were lined up collecting money from the longest line of cars twisted throughout the parking lot.  People driving along the highway were honking.   The whole scene put tears in my eyes.  As more days followed we watched people come together like never before.  People were strangers were now friends going out of their way to help one another.  If there was anything positive that came from that day it would have been the change in the American attitude.  Road rage became letting the other go before yourself.  The race to be first in line became a race to help the next person become the first in line.

Somewhere along the line we’ve lost that spark and energy.  We all remember the pain, the loss of so many lives, heroes but too many have forgotten that renewed union.  Too many have once again started keeping up with the Jones’ when we should be helping the Jones’.  It’s sad that such a monumental event is what it took to bring our country together.  And, devastating that we HAVE forgotten.

I challenge you and myself to stop worrying about getting to the top, putting yourself first, complaining about working, driving the store as fast as you can – for reasons you can’t remember.  I challenge us all to start taking the time to notice the simple things in life, start waving when you pass an on coming vehicle, smile more AND most importantly, remember the feeling of unity we all had following 9-11-01.

God bless all of the families who lost loved ones that horrible day.  There are all truly heroes!

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