I've been struggling with this post for days. I know the importance of marking the passing of September 11. I know the remembrance of what happened 6 years ago today helped to shape who I am. I know that a moment of silence for all those that perished is only a minor tribute and that they deserve so much more, as do their families.
I know that on 9-11-2001 I lost the last vestiges of my innocence, of my naivete, as did a lot of other people. I know that on that day I thanked God my son was too young to understand what was happening and that my husband was no longer full time active duty with the military, and yet, I still feared these events would call him away from us into a war no one truly understands the reasons for or the motives behind. I know that the first shots in that war were fired at us, not by us.
I know that the damage done on that day was more than cosmetic and that no one who witnessed what happened will ever forget the fear, the sadness, the anger, the hurt or the confusion it caused. I know nothing will ever be the same. I also know, I wouldn't want it to be.
The events that happened on September 11, 2001 made me an adult. The realization that people out in the big, bad world wished me, and every other American, harm simply because we don't share the same belief systems, the same advantages and disadvantages, and the same geographic location, made me grow up. It made me step outside my safe, comfy little life and see how, perhaps, our lives are viewed by others and it made me sad that the intolerance that we've tried so hard to eradicate within our own country had reared its ugly head from the outside and invaded us once again.
I began to wonder if intolerance could ever really be done away with. I began to loose hope for the world my son would grow up in. I began to fear for the life my child would have in a world so adverse to allowing for differences, so against allowing people to have their own beliefs, so opposed to embracing the variety and welcoming the diverse experiences different cultures have to offer.
Then, something... happened. I watched our nation pull together. I watched people with no ulterior motives, no personal stake, no real personal cause to be involved ,sweep across the nation in a great tide of patriotism, belonging and pride. We prayed. We cried. We sang. We rallied. We stood strong. TOGETHER.
Our men and women are STILL fighting this war. Families are separated. Kids are doing without their parents. Spouses handle day to day life alone. Neighbors are helping one another get by in the absence of and the danger faced by their loved ones. They fight for our freedom. They fight for our pride. They fight for our way of life. They fight for US.
Today I make a choice. Today I step forward and challenge everyone else to do the same. September 11 is no longer a day of mourning. No longer a day to dread. I choose to have this date as a day to be thankful for what we GAINED on September 11, 2001. The losses will always be with us and we should never forget them but its time folks, its time to remember and be thankful for the renewal of our strength as a nation, as a people. Its time to look at 9-11 as a new beginning for us and as a reminder that we truly ARE all in this together and that united there's little that can take us down.