Ten years ago today.
We all remember where we were, what we were doing, who we were with when we heard the news. I was working at a kids’ camp. A warm sunny northern California morning and I was wearing shorts. Jean cut offs. Over exposed. Vulnerable. So American.
In shock I walked down the hill and worked with my horses and gave riding lessons to kids in the upper outdoor arena surrounded by ripe blackberries and poison oak. I kept busy as the concept slowly sunk in, processed and became real.
No. Unreal. Crazy. Those kinds of thoughts kept coming back.
For the kids, we rose above it, didn’t discuss it but in the hush private quiet time when no one could fully comprehend how such an unreal event really happened and jaws were left hanging and brows furrowed as we looked at each other in a stupid silent disbelief.
And how has it affected us all since?
All of us, it has. All of us. No American is immune. We travel in airports and sign waivers and read the fine print and jump to conclusions that acts by a crazy man must be terrorist threats. We look at our neighbor differently because of where he came from and how he prays and dresses, and that is the most unfortunate of all. I thought growing up when we were so proud as a community to rise above the ways of our parents or grandparents judging our neighbors by the color of their skin that we’d never go back.
What have we done for our country in turn, when she was caught off guard, found her weakness, her soft spot, and crumbled with such violence that stole 3000 lives in one day? The shocking truth of such blood shed on her land, our land. A stain on our flag we are unable to wash off.
We used to be strong, impenetrable, mighty, untouchable. We were proud.
And then we questioned, and were questioned, and can we well answer this and retain our country’s pride?
What have I done?
What have you done?
Have we made our country more sound, secure, stronger, a better place to be? Safer for our children, our husbands, our neighbors? Or have we cried from the deep seated emotion of shock, and then cried for our fear of potential demise, and then continued to cry for our childhood has been shattered and our perfect country, like a mother, the great and mighty US of A begins to falter and weaken and tear at her seams.
We sit back in our lazy-e-boy with our spreading girth and curse the bad news on TV. And all we do is see our selfish loss. How has it affected us, what have we really given up, what have we done differently, what have we given to others?
Have we made the greatest sacrifice by giving our sons and daughters to the front line? Those so brave to have been drawn to the duty of our country when the rest of us sit back and judge?
How easy it is to point a finger of blame. How hard it is to take the hand of responsibility.
In reality we still have so much but whine about the cost of gas as we steer our big truck through the drive-in and complain of the prices to the person in the check-out window who rolls her eyes back to us because she’s heard it all before. And heaven forbid we do anything different. The inconvenience of change.
How many of us still feel the rest of the world wants to be one of us, when slowly, they do not. And not because of 9/11. But because of our whining.
Listen. Once again, I hear folks whining who have too much to lose, and still have too much.
It should have been a wakeup call. Are we not the children of this beautiful nation that once nurtured us, now stepping up to care for our weakened mother?
We have so much. Look around.
Do something. Do something brave and strong and mighty. Not for yourself, but for your country. Stop whining and start acting.