Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th, 2011 - I remember . . .


Today I want to pause and talk about something other than fashion and Second Life.  It is a special anniversary as most people know.  Not a happy anniversary, but a somber one.  It is the day that violently marked a change in the United States of America, of which I am a proud citizen.  I have rarely spoken of what happened that day.  But today, you get Seamstress Unabridged & Uncensored.  There is no politically correct in this post, just personal feelings and observations.

I do not assume this is only an American memory, I think it is a world memory for one reason or another.  People were either shocked and saddened or grief stricken.  Or the harder thought, they may have been jubilant to see that shattering destruction in the heart of New York City.  Perhaps they were gleeful to see the death and loss that day, but I think, I hope, that is a minority.  I think for that day, and the weeks that followed, the world reached out and took our hand and said, 'We're here too.  We grieve with you.'  And we wept together.

I remember American planes landing all over the world, suddenly homeless as they were not allowed to fly in our air space.  Not until we knew what was happening.  I remember Americans in every foreign country being sheltered.  I remember our neighbors to the north, Canada, taking in hundreds, giving them food and shelter, holding them safe while we figured out what the hell was happening.  It was like that all over the world.  And here at home, the skies above were empty, except for birds and the sound of weeping.  It was so quiet as the nation stopped and locked down.  I have never in my life experienced that.  I have seen a few world changing events, but none like this.

We also weren't the only one who lost citizens that day.  This was the World Trade center.  There were people of many faiths and nationalities.  And lest we forget, they were all terrified too, and when they vanished in the collapses, they too, were missed and grieved for.  One of the worst things that came out of that day, in my humble opinion, was the sudden suspicion of all things Muslim.  That was so unfair, and it still remains an issue.  I think we struggle with this every day of our lives now, at least many do, and not just in America.  However, my view is there are extremists in nearly every religion, and so I cannot hold an entire faith responsible for a few misguided individuals.  I saw a Muslim family in my local Walmart yesterday.  The mother and daughter were dressed in the traditional head scarf and robes.  I thought, the mother looked tired, and the little girl made me smile.  Her head scarf had pink sparkles on it, and my smile was because no matter what religion or nationality, little children always love sparkle, don't they?

I have been thinking about it, about what I was doing that morning a decade ago.  I was working on a text RPG game, working as a writer.  Yes, gaming was a bit different then.  I had a teenage daughter, and her friend was staying with us for a few weeks.  The friend's parents were in China on a trip.  I had been up late the night before, working, as is my habit.  I woke up around 11am, it was a gorgeous day.  Blue, warm, and clear, much like today is.  The birds were singing outside my living room window and I could sense the first stirrings of fall.  I had my coffee, but no radio or tv because I was just enjoying the beauty of the morning.  I worked quietly for about an hour, then connected to the internet at around noon.  The first thing that happened was a co-worked IM'd me.  He said, 'The world is coming to an end'.  I thought he was joking and asked what he meant.  He said, 'turn on the TV, you'll see.'   We did not speak again that day. 

I did turn on the TV, and my peaceful, beautiful September morning in the heartland of America turned into one of shocked grief and sorrow.  Disbelief hung over me, and the first thing I did once I could breath again was call my husband.  He was aware of what was going on, was watching it on TV too.  My daughter was at school with her friend and they were safe.  But all I could think of as I cried was, I wanted my family home NOW, NOW, so I could hold them and know things would be ok.  But really, nothing was ok after that for a very long time.

I think our whole nation stood still that day.  We stopped, and we stared with disbelief.  How could this happen?  How could someone hate us that much?  What purpose does it serve to do such uncivilized things?  And as the days went by, a growing need to strike back surged in us.  I think that people should be honest with themselves, when someone hurts you, it is often a natural impulse to want to strike back and make them hurt in return.  A late night comedian said that someone had sucker punched us, and by heaven, that's what it felt like.  As a nation we had been doubled over with sudden shock and grief, but we were far from falling to our knees in anything other than prayer.

Toby Keith came out with a song, and it very much expressed what I was feeling at the time.  I know that others have gone on to the forgiveness stage, but anger has a way of making people mobilize.  I don't think everything that came from that horrid day was good, I'm not a fan of war.  But I remember that this song expressed what I felt as the details were revealed and we knew who to blame.

We as a nation were angry, and what happened afterwards might not have been the best thing, but it happened.  Flying changed, war happened, eventually the leader of the group who claimed responsibility was caught and killed, though I will be frank and say there was no relief in that.  I knew there wouldn't be.  What he had put into motion a decade ago was bigger than him.  He was just a name.  One man, a figurehead who got lucky because we had thought of the world as a mostly friendly place.  There will always be someone to take advantage of that.  I have to have personal faith that when that leader stood before our Maker, by whatever name you wish to give that Power, he felt the weight of what had been done and did not feel as jubilant then.  I will say this as well, I do not hate that man, nor his family.  I simply feel pity for him, if I think of it at all.  When I weep, as I have done today, it is for those who were frightened, who died unfairly early, who left behind grieving families and nations.  Those are the ones I shed tears for.

So today, I will go outside and do some gardening, water plants, play with the dog (and maybe give him a bath) and enjoy the warmth as summer fades away.  I will enjoy the peace of the day remembering the tears of a decade ago.  I will stand witness and remember that while outside forces sought to bring my country to its knees and destroy it, they failed

I am an average woman who lives in Minnesota, the very heartland of the United States of America.  I am proud to be an American, and today, I remember that I am blessed to live here.

I wish you all a wonderful, happy, and safe day.

Cordially yours,