Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Thoughts on September 11th --- Ten Years Later

I just got home from our church service where we discussed and remembered the horrible events that took place in the US on this date 10 years ago.  I've been mulling over this post all week long---should I be as open and honest as I'd like to be?  Do my thoughts really even matter all that much?  Am I so far removed from it all that I have no respectable perspective?  This afternoon, I think I want to just take a few minutes and get my thoughts out about this day...it's been a long time coming.

I'll be honest with you, I'm the type of person who approaches things with an attitude of "deal with it and move on".  I know that sounds heartless---more than heartless---in the context of the horrific events of 9/11/2001...but stay with me for a minute.  As the last 10 years have gone by, I've found myself more and more irritated with the memorials, the remembrance events, the moments of silence, the replays, the photographs, etc. etc. etc....basically, the reminders---every. single. year...on this date.  I've been guilty of thinking, "It's over.  It was sad.  Let's move on now."  Of course, those thoughts made me feel guilty, ashamed, heartless...but they were real.

This year has been different.  I've been reading the many stories, flipping through the countless pictures, and attempting to watch videos that became very emotionally overwhelming at times, trying to give myself some perspective and see if it may have just been my own selfish immaturity that caused me to be so indifferent to past reminders of the terrorist attacks that day.

I think the bottom line is that for me, life has gone on.  It's not that I've forgotten that day 10 years ago...it's that, in the meantime, life has happened.  I've had 7 more children since then.  I've gone through the death of a baby, countless moves and several job changes, health issues---basically, I've lived and I've let life go on.

Today, I want to take a few minutes and remember.  I want to write about that day and allow myself to work through the things that I was too young to work through 10 years ago; because the truth is, that day rocked my world to some degree.  It changed my perspective, squashed my innocence and exposed my ignorance---I just didn't really realize that until now.

Though I've not really thought about it before now, I do remember where I was when I first heard the news.  Jamie and I were living in our hometown of Baker City, Oregon and our oldest daughter, Lynzie, was about 20 months old.  I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with our second child, Michael.  I was awake but not yet out of bed when the phone rang at about 6:30 am.  My mom had been watching the news early that morning and called me frantic.  She told me to turn on the news, that "it was horrible", but she couldn't really get the right words out to tell me what was happening.  By that time, here in Oregon, both planes had hit the World Trade Center buildings and our news was showing the videos over and over again.  The news people were still pretty shaken up and no one really knew what to say.  I remember my mom saying something about this being history and that our world would never be the same.

Thinking back on my initial reaction, it's hard to believe I could be so naive.  All I could think as I watched the news videos play over and over was, "how could someone do this to America?"  It wasn't the, "how could they be so cruel..." point of view; it was the "how could they be allowed to do this?"  In my 21-year-old mind, it seemed literally impossible for someone to attack America...it was as if I believed it was not allowed by some high world law.  I was so secure in my status as an American...in knowing I was "free".  Didn't "free" mean "safe"?

The attacks happened on a Tuesday.  That following Friday night, we headed to the Columbia River to camp with my dad and his wife for the weekend.  While the guys were out on the boat fishing, Theresa and I spent hours contemplating all the changes we anticipated happening now that Armageddon was upon us.  The gas prices had already begun to rise---although I'm not sure why they did or why they're still where they are.  I can remember being overwhelmed with fear that the draft would be reinstated as we prepared for World War III.  My husband, only 22 at the time, was easily draftable.  

Over the next year or so, I remember being so scared when a plane would fly overhead.  I'd either be afraid it was a terrorist or sure it was headed to fend one off.  I can remember when I was a little kid and my mom would always say, "look at the plane, kids!"  My brother and I would get so excited and we'd watch the plane until it went out of sight---imagining where it was going and what happy people were looking down on us.  It just occurred to me that I've never pointed out a plane to my kids.  Nowadays, planes = bombs in some subconscious part of me and they're not fun anymore.

Over time, that fear has worn off.  I've experienced so much more of life in the last 10 years.  I've grown into a "real mom" with pressing issues right here within these four walls.  New York and the other affected areas in the East seem so far away---I've lived my entire life within hours of the West coast.  I still don't know anyone who lost a loved one or otherwise experienced the attacks personally.  I don't drive or walk by the three areas of devastation.  For me, it's over and done with and I've moved on.

But today, as I spend this quiet time contemplating this date and what it means for so many people, I am overwhelmed by how much I am truly affected.  I'm weeping for the 3,000 children who lost at least one parent that day.  I'm hurting for the daughter of the firefighter mother I read about who died after saving countless lives that day.  I'm thinking, if it weren't for 9/11, where would these people be now?  Would I know any of them?  Would I have met them online through BookCrossing?  Would they participate in the Pink Saturday blog hop with me?  How many marriages would have taken place or children would have been born?  How would the entire course of history have changed had these almost 3,000 people lived past September 11, 2001?

In addition to that, what would our world be like?  What would the thousands of soldiers have done with their 10 years?  What direction would our nation have taken had we not had all this to deal with?

Other than my oldest daughter, none of my other children have ever lived in a USA without war.  Despite the fact that I've been relatively indifferent with my feelings about our country, I think I have some of the most patriotic kids around.  I have to attribute some of that to their experiences as kids of the 21st century---the millenium that went to war in infancy and finds itself still there a decade later.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I sense myself turning over a new leaf in my feelings toward America.  All this talk of remembering the date and never forgetting those we lost and those who bravely sacrificed for others has me thinking:  of course we're going to remember.  Remembering is not the problem---I think the issue is that we don't grow complacent in our remembering.  We need to actively remember the horror of 9/11 so we can make conscious decisions to live bravely and to esteem others higher than ourselves.  

I want to truly be able to say that I don't live in America, America lives in me.  Tonight I'm committed:  the next time a plane flies overhead, I'll look up and, with all the excitement I can muster, I'll say, "look at the plane kids," and we'll all wave at the happy people flying above the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Linking with:
A Return to Loveliness @ A Delightsome Life
Cottage Style Party @ Lavender Garden Cottage 
Teach Me Tuesday @ Growing Home
Tutorial Tuesdays with Hope Studios
Courtship Connection
Women Helping Women @ Teaching What Is Good 
Domestically Divine @ Far Above Rubies
(Titus 2)s Days @ Time Warp Wife
Tending the Home Tuesday
Tuesday Link Up Party 
Wisdom Wednesdays @Simply Helping Him
Winsome Wednesday @ My Daily Walk in His Grace
Whole-Hearted Home Wednesdays 
Encourage One Another @ Deep Roots at Home
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Homemaking Link Up @ Raising Homemakers
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy and Elephants 
Simple Living Wednesdays @ Our Simple Farm
Wednesday Link up at Adorned from Above
Shoe Lace Linkup @ Living In the Shoe
Home Link Up at Raising Arrows


  1. Hi Sarah,
    Oh what a heartfelt post...so beautiful--and so true. I am doing a week about pink and I'm wondering if I can post one of the adorable pics of Kynthia to start out the post...(It should be in the next few weeks.) Just let me know and I will add her pic to the post!

  2. Hi Sarah, I'm glad you have worked all this out in your mind and soul. You wrote a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your feelings and thoughts. Linda

  3. Thanks for sharing all your feelings, I am sure this made you feel better. For me that horrific incident will never be forgotten and it just made me love my country more...Christine

  4. Lovely post!! I lived in NY when 911 happened, and it is not something I like to speak of. It is just that awful. we will never forget.

  5. I remembered watching it on television and thought it was a movie! It was so devastating to see.

  6. I love how you summed it all up. I agree with you. We watched the history channel yesterday and heard so many personal stories about that day that we had never heard. Also who talks about the people in the hotel in the footprint of both towers? It ended up looking like a U and people there had to be rescued and died. Other building all around were affected. There are so many stories of bravery and faith and courage we never will hear about. Yes let America live through us etc...You are so right! Thanks for a good post! Sarah

  7. hi Sarah, Happy Pink to you too! So good to hear from you.......

    The French Hutch

  8. Thanks for sharing your heart. It truly gives a new perspective.

  9. I was 20 and hadn't even met Donny yet! My friend and I were heading to New York in November that year and we ended up going, but it was so surreal. I remember being so sad, but because my own hometown was bombed in 96' (in the Murrah Federal bombing) I really wasn't totally surprised I guess. My little safe world was shaken when I was only 14. I do however remember that 911 was my wake up call to become more committed and more on fire for God.

  10. We all remember what it was like...although we weren't all directly involved - it touched all of our lives. I was horrified to learn that some of the terrorists trained at a nearby small airport where we used to live - it made me look at folks more closely - today - a lot has happened in my life since, and yes we all do move on - but we are all more aware, hopefully more thankful and demonstrate to others the heart of God - love and forgiveness...beautifully written post. I am delighted that you shared with A Return to Loveliness,

  11. We all remember what it was like...although we weren't all directly involved - it touched all of our lives. I was horrified to learn that some of the terrorists trained at a nearby small airport where we used to live - it made me look at folks more closely - today - a lot has happened in my life since, and yes we all do move on - but we are all more aware, hopefully more thankful and demonstrate to others the heart of God - love and forgiveness...beautifully written post. I am delighted that you shared with A Return to Loveliness,

  12. At the time we were living about three hours from NYC but we were camping out in the Boonies in Kentucky. We couldn't get away from it even down there.

    Thank you for sharing this over at WholeHearted Home this week.


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Mrs. Sarah Coller

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