I’ve written about 9/11 over the years, where I was, what I was doing and how the events of the day overshadowed my own hell I was facing, if only for a while.
It’s been ten years from that horrible day in September and at times it feels like it was yesterday. I can pull up the emotions I was feeling, the ones that are still so raw, very easily. I can recall the smells of that fall day, the sounds, or lack of sounds since the planes had been grounded, even what I was wearing. The day is burned in my memory even though it blurred into many days as I sat transfixed to the TV trying to make sense of all the horror.
I don’t want to write about that day for many reasons but mainly because I want to move on. I want to focus on the positive instead of the negative, and that day, while horrible, was filled with heroic moments. The months that followed 9/11 changed us all for the better, briefly.
9/11 changed us in many ways; if you didn’t have a cell phone before the attacks you had one after them, we found our American flags and flew them proudly, we stuck magnets on our cars. For a while, at least, we didn’t distinguish ourselves by race, gender, sexual identity, political party, or nationality, we were all just Americans.
I can’t remember when it stopped, but it did. We are no longer just Americans, we are Democrats or Republicans clinging to ideologies that have no room for compromise or even understanding. We’ve become dogmatic about our beliefs and damn anyone who doesn’t hold the same ones. The people who hold different beliefs from our own are racist, stupid and Nazis.
I don’t know when it happened but sometime in the last ten years someone drew a line in the sand and we all took sides. Blindly for the most part.
I’m still horrified by the events of that day, but I remember thinking we had learned something from it, as a country. We had learned, again, what it was to be proud of our heritage, that we were a melting pot of so many different nationalities, religions and beliefs. That we were different, and that was what made us Americans.
I’d like to get those feelings back, I’d like for us to be proud to be Americans again.
I get mad when I think about this; how petty we have become in the last ten years. How we use the anonymity of the internet to call people who don’t hold the same beliefs names that are foul. How easily we can become angered by our politicians and President, and how they don’t seem to see themselves contributing to the problem.
We are Americans, we should be proud of who we are and what we represent. We, by virtue of nothing more than birth, are born in the best nation on this planet. We have forgotten how utterly lucky we are. We have lost our humility and in that process we have become arrogant and cruel.
No wonder people want to fly our planes into our buildings.
We are like children who don’t understand how good we have it and can only complain about the things we don’t have. Yeah, our economy sucks right now but we still have the ability to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and make something of ourselves.
We have to stop calling each other names, we have to take pride in the work we do and the good works we do, again. We have to help one another and we have to stop expecting the politicians to solve our problems. It’s time to take back our country, be proud of who we are and that our best days are still ahead of us, if we stop hating on each other.