September 7 – Where were you when…? Describe what you remember.
The topic for the day does not say just when it is asking but one can not help but think of 9/11 at this time of year. It is a date I think that will live in Americans hearts for a long time. For my Generation I think it is a bit like pearl harbor maybe. I had a shop teacher in Electrical at Plymouth South Highschool back in 97, Mr. Kirby if I recall correctly. He would get very upset when asking the class to recall what important day it was and none of us knew. It was Pearl Harbor day, a day that lived deeply in that mans heart and I don’t think he understood why our generation was so disconnected from it. We didn’t grow up with fear of war, we did not grow up then with a sense of national pride. I got married in 1998 and off into the world we went. My husband joined the military, there was no sign of war in site, it was a practical choice on his part, a family tradition or sorts that he didn’t really understand. For a young couple with no one to depend on though it sounded like a good idea, a few years of service would pay for college. It turned into more than a few years and I think 9/11 had a lot to do with it. I tried to understand Mr. Kirby when he tried to teach about Pearl Harbor, I don’t think though it lived in my heart until my generation was made to see war, was made to fear it personally.
9/11 I found myself at Fort Steward with a toddler. My husband was at work on the post a mile away working on the motor pool if I recall right on military intel equipment. I started to receive phone calls from friends and loved ones asking if we are safe. I was confused and raced to the TV and saw the second tower fall in horror. I didn’t know if our base would be a target. Nothing felt real just then. It was shock. I didn’t call my husband at work, I knew things would be busy for them and did not want to clog the lines. We didn’t have cell phones then yet. They where a luxury then, not like they are today, seemingly a requirement. It was hours before he called to check on us, to make sure I was keeping calm.
I spent the day like so many others watching the news, crying, and trying to make sure no one I knew was in danger. I was helpless, like so many. I don’t know if the generation after my daughters will know what it is like to have that fear and sorry in their hearts. My baby was so small then playing in front of the TV while people jumped to their deaths. I think she will have a better connection to history than I did as a child though having grown up in a military family, having had her father go off to a war zone. Unlike my childhood I hope it brings her a sense of global humanity, a picture of the world beyond what she knows in every day life. What happens out there effects us all, even if we do not know it. We need to act responsibly as a nation, we need to help all of humanity grow and thrive. We need to remember the past and not repeat our mistakes. Going into Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and my oldest daughter knows it thankfully. Not everyone does though. Not everyone understands how that day has been used against us by our own in my opinion. I support my husband, our military, I just really wish those that sent them to die would be honest with us and I wish those civilians who elect these people where more informed and active in our government.
My country is still a toddler. I didn’t know that growing up. We have so much more to learn, so much growing to do. Sadly I fear we are still in the selfish stages and I am not sure that will change in my lifetime.