I was still in my room upstairs and I heard my parents voices from the living room. They called me downstairs and said something is happening. They had the news on television and seemed half bemused and half uncomprehending. They were speaking in fragments. About planes and towers and terrorists.
The world changed. My family cried together that day. We didn’t leave the house. We were watching live coverage on the news when the second plane hit tower two. Hundreds of miles away I sat safe in my living room watching disaster and fear and death and chaos unfold before my eyes. In the days that would follow I would hungrily take in news watching for rescue reports and feeling such sadness and dismay as the number of lost lives climbed inconceivably high.
I live in Pennsylvania. United Airlines flight 93 was brought down short of its intended target by the brave and innocent passenger on board. Short of its target and terrifyingly close to home.
We redefined “home” that day. Americans were suddenly made to feel vulnerable “at home” and the whole world was watching as we reeled and staggered from that vile and cowardly attack. Home was everywhere that star spangled banner flew and we revealed our resilience and our heart in the aftermath of September 11th.
It has been noted that this years anniversary marks the first year that high school freshman will learn of the attacks as a historical event that predates their lives. Fifteen years ago. Half a lifetime for me. More than twice the years of my child’s existence. Yet still to this day the stories of grief and courage and recovery still bring me to my knees, humbled and mournful and angry.
I told my 6 year old the story today. Maybe he is too young to hear of such tragedy or maybe I waited to long to teach him how to remember others. Even those we’ve never met. We can not forget. We can not grow numb to this savage world as we continue to face terrorism in our HOME.
This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York island…
This land was made for you and me.