Today I dressed in a very patriotic fashion. I’m very red, white and blue. I also remembered to wear my American Flag lapel pin. I do this because I do remember what happened 11 years ago so very clearly. In the few years I’ve been writing this blog I’ve written about September 11, 2001 several times. It’s just one of those things that will always be a part of me. I do what I can to remember and if that involves wearing something patriotic then I will do it.
I still get teary eyed thinking about that day. All the lives lost, that would be lost following the attacks, the years of war and terror that permeated the globe for so long. It’s hard not to feel sad about it all. I certainly wouldn’t compare my feelings of sadness to anyone directly affected by these tragedies. I didn’t know anyone personally in the towers or at the Pentagon or on board any of the planes. All the guys I knew that went to war all made it back safely too. So my sadness is tempered with a sense of gratefulness for the losses I didn’t have to experience.
Every generation has something tragic to mark the passage of time. The Kennedy assassinations, the Challenger accident, the first Trade Center bombing, Columbine, 9/11, earthquakes, hurricanes’, tornadoes, some manmade, some the result of nature, but there’s something to mark the time when we were one thing and in a few hours were changed forever into something new. When we looked in the mirror our reflection was a little different, perhaps more serious; perhaps with a sense of the fragility of our lives and of our time.
I complain about the tragedy of my life all the time but I like to think I do so with a sense of respect for those that have persevered and passed before me. I think that I complain because I know that they struggled to give me the opportunity to have the right to complain. I know that if they had imagined me, they would want more for me, for everyone. No life should be spent in a small cubicle being harped at my little Napoleons and Isabella’s. That seems to cheapen the blood spilled over the annuls of history.
Some days are harder than others, but today is especially hard for a lot of Americans. We went from a country about to focus on its domestic policies to one focused on kicking ass. American’s like kicking ass, we’re pretty damn good at it. I’m not saying that all American’s are war mongers but we do seem to enjoy a good fight. American soldiers are volunteers. There is no draft anymore. Our troops are men and women that put their lives on hold and dedicated themselves to the defense of their country. So citizens feel connected to them in an intangible way. We love them and do what we can to honor their sacrifice. There has been a lot of sacrifice.
11 years later and I still sometimes cringe when an airplane echoes overhead. The fear and vulnerability that day exposed is still with me. The bravery and courage and fortitude showed on that day by so many Americans still makes my chest swell and prideful tears tempt the corners of my eyes. The further we move into the future from that September day doesn’t dilute what I feel. What we all must feel. It’s only the generations after us that will have trouble connecting to it. The children born after 9/11/01 will not be able to grasp the significance of that day; much like I’ll never be able to fully grasp the emotions of 12/07/1941 and Pearl Harbor, or 11/22/1963 and JFK’s assassination. They were all hard days.
I can only hope the hard days get less as the world matures and hard days fade into hard memories.