Today marked the tenth anniversary of the day terrorists changed the world for us Americans. Life as we knew it would never be the same. As a fourteen year old freshman in high school, I had an idealized opinion of the great nation I was a part of. Growing up, we were taught the history of the United States; How it was founded as the "New World" then later referred to as the "Promised Land" and the "Land of Opportunity." All of these names given to a place that people believed in and looked to be a safe haven for families to grow and to prosper. I remember learning about tragedies in our history like Pearl Harbor and feeling patriotic, knowing that our American people were able to come together to protect everything that our great country stood for. And I remember September 11, 2001, realizing in one incredibly painful and eye opening moment that I was going to carry this day around with me forever.
I didn't go to school that morning, because I had a dentist appointment. I was in the car, listening to the radio with my mom when the first plane hit. I was in the dentist chair, with the radio in the background when the second plane hit. I remember sitting up in the chair and saying, thinking "one plane could have been and accident... but two? No way." I arrived at school before the end of first period. I remember walking to my Spanish 2 class, down the large, empty hallway feeling confused and completely alone. Our principle came on the PA system and explained what I had already known, but no one else was aware of yet. The deserted hallway seemed like a ghost town as every single classroom went silent. He instructed the teachers to turn on the news, cancel classes for the day... and all we could do was watch.
Most days, I don't really think about that day. But on a day like today all I can do is remember; the images of the people and debris, crying, and feeling very afraid.
I think that is what we are supposed to do. Remember the day as it was, teach those who are young what it truly means to be an American... because like the teenagers who felt the Earth shake on December 7th, 1941... we now know what they felt. The pain and the fear and the patriotism that was overflowing with rage as we tried to make sense of the acts.
I am so proud to be an American. Words can't describe the feeling in my heart as write this. It aches for the people who lost their lives, and the families that were destroyed; But it hopes for the future of these families and our Nation as a whole.
I hope everyone was able to take at least one moment today to say a prayer and to give thanks for our lives. We are protected by an incredible group of men and women who sacrifice each day to keep our country safe. Thank you to all our service men and women... from the bottom of my heart.
"Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin' against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?
Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out in pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?
I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
you the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love
Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?
Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?
And the greatest is love.
And the greatest is love.
Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?"
"Where Were You (When the World Stop Turning)" - Allan Jackson