Where were you when…?

I couldn’t help but put this day down in words. Today marks the 11th year since the attacks upon DC, New York and Pennsylvania by terrorists. We’ve all got our stories now, some more epic than others, about where we were and what we were doing when the horror began. For me, I was getting ready for school, living off-campus and going to college. There was banter on the radio and as I was only half paying attention, I didn’t realize that the DJ’s had gone from playful to utterly serious. Honestly though, who would genuinely believe that a plane had just careened into one of the World Trade Towers? It took until turning on the TV news to confirm that it was not simply some tacky joke cooked up by “zany” radio personalities: they were dead serious.

Needless to say I skipped class that day, and instead went to visit my parents, where we stayed glued to the TV for the remainder of the day. We cried, we marveled, and we asked “why”, a lot. We watched the whole government line up on the steps of congress and sing the national anthem. We were unequivocally one people that day, indistinguishable as a democrat or a republican, a catholic or a jew, gay or straight. We were the most American I’ve ever seen our country be in my lifetime, and through my sorrow, I felt such pride to be American.

And suddenly it has been 11 years. The office here at PinMart is bustling, the sun is shining, and as they should be, radio DJ’s are reporting funny news instead of announcing the end of our American innocence. We are back to business as usual, both inside this office and across the country. But now new habits have been formed. Flags are flown half mast today. Flowers can be found at graves and memorials all over the Northeast, in quiet honor of the dead. And millions of other Americans, including myself, are wearing commemorative 9/11 lapel pins.

It’s these little things that remind us how much we stand to lose, how much we gained, however painfully, and what we still need to learn. And whether or not you wear 9/11 lapel pins or leave flowers, or whether you do your best to not think about the significance of this day at all, to keep the sadness at bay, we’re all more aware of our commonality today, and every day since September 11th 2001. So for what it’s worth, may fate smile fondly on the USA in the future, and may we live up to our potential. And as always, our most sincere sympathy towards everyone who lost loved ones on this day, 11 years ago.

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