Nine years ago I was reading email when the reports started coming in. “Did you hear?”
Nine years ago I got a phone call from my husband, saying “I’m all right.”
Nine years ago I was playing with my baby in the bedroom, watching the news and talking with my aunt to check and see whether my cousin and uncle were okay, when I watched the second tower fall.
Nine years ago I sat, glued to CNN, holding my baby in my lap, in shock as the news replayed the images of people jumping out of the buildings before they fell. Watching as the news replayed the brief clip of a passenger jet hitting the second tower. Replayed the fall of the second tower. All day.
Nine years ago I watched men unfurl the flag over the Pentagon as we stopped to assess the damage.
Nine years ago I heard about the plane that went down in Pennsylvania.
Nine years ago I created an image and put it up on my personal web site.
Nine years ago, in just a few short hours, my life changed forever.
I was one of the lucky ones. I knew people who knew people. One degree away, many times.
My children will never know a time before the towers fell.
My children will never know the parents they could have known.
My children will never understand the changes that swept our country that day.
We lost more than people, more than buildings, more than money or livelihoods or offices.
The changes were more than just the ceasing of flights for a week.
We are becoming.
We could not have imagined the atrocities we have committed against other human beings but we have justified these acts in the names of those who died that day.
We could not have imagined a war on terror, but we have justified this war in the names of those who died that day.
We could not have imagined the public burning of a holy book, even though some of those people lived by that book, but we have justified the burning in the names of those who died that day.
We could not have imagined the security cameras or the patting down or the microchips or the full body scans or the daily invasions of privacy, but we have justified it all in the names of those who died that day.
We are racing toward our own destruction as the rich refuse to understand our peril and hunker down with their wealth.
We are hurtling toward our own destruction as the fundamentalist Christian faiths forget our collective roots, our history.
We are floating toward our own destruction on the wings of hate and discord.
We are flying toward an inevitable conclusion that one hundred years from now we will not be what we were before.
We recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
We treat every person with justice, equity and compassion.
We accept one another for what we are, without caveats or excuses.
We allow a free and responsible search for truth and meaning for everyone.
We recognize and preserve the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process everywhere.
We find a way to live in a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
We respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Without these truths we can never establish justice,
Insure domestic tranquility,
Provide for the common defense,
Promote the general welfare
Or secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
Our people are waiting.
What will we do to remember?
[Edited because while I can write up a storm, I can’t add.]