Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years ago...

No theological discussion today, but rather some reflection as I remember what happened this fateful day ten years ago.

I remember it so clearly, much like my parents remember the assassination of JFK or my grandparents remembering the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a Tuesday, and I know that only because one of my favorite bands, P.O.D., had just come out with their album Satellite. I was a senior in high school. It was second period, around 9:45, when I heard about the planes crashing into the Twin Towers of NYC. There was a sense of disbelief, shock, and confusion. There was no way this was happening to us. Just then, a correspondent who was in the Pentagon said they felt shaking. That was from the impact of that plane crashing.

We spent much of that school day watching NBC news (one of the few "outside" stations we could pick up in our school). During third period, both towers collapsed. It felt like a dream, like something that could never happen in real life, especially in America. Shortly afterwards, a "rumor" spread that a plane had crashed near Shanksville. All of us were skeptical; after all, we lived in Somerset County. Nothing exciting or dramatic happened here. A local news break, however, confirmed this rumor. Again, more disbelief and shock. What in the world was going on? Eventually, our administration told teachers to continue class as usual. How could we though, after what we had already seen and heard?

Phone calls began coming in to our area. After all, the national news could only say that a plane crashed in western PA, or Somerset county. Schools were wondering what to do. While not nearly as catastrophic as NYC, there was still chaos in our small world. Eventually, we were left out early along with other schools in the area. I think administrators realized that it was better to return home, perhaps to our families who also might have left work early.

The news stayed on much of the day at our house. It was unbelievable seeing the video and pictures of the events that had transpired that morning. I can only imagine what those in the towers had experienced, especially those who right in the path of each plane as it crashed.

Much has changed since then as we all know. Airport security has tightened dramatically. New rules and regulations have gone into effect, and others have been revised. Immediately following the events, there was a sense of unity. We were all Americans, all people who had witnessed a horrible tragedy in our nation. Leaders and politicians felt a common bond as was shown by Congress singing "God bless America" on the steps of the Capitol.

Now, it seems we have forgotten much, at least until this time rolls around every year. The bickering and fighting continue in our politics and the mentality of us vs. them still reigns supreme in our world. Many considered the events of 9/11 a wake-up call, but it seems we simply hit the snooze button and fell back into our old ways.

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