Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th, 2001

When i remember back to September 11 th, 2001 alot of things come to my mind in crystal clear clarity.  I remember, like everyone else, exactly where i was when i heard the news.  I was exiting onto hwy 36 off of Rice street on my way to NWC to take a Spanish exam.  As i turned on the radio, they were talking about the tower that had gotten hit by a plane and as they were talking i heard them exclaim in disbelief as they watched a second plane hit the World Trade Tower. I remember feeling shock and then nothing.  It felt so unreal to be hearing this news and trying to weigh the gravity of it all. What just happened? I specifically remember still having to take that stupid Spanish test and our fire alarm was going off at school for some odd reason and we just kept on like nothing was happening in the world!  I remember being so annoyed and confused that we were not even talking about this humongous thing that was happening, we were just silently taking our test like little lab rats!!  I raced back to my apartment and turned on the news and called my Mom.  Her first comment was that she either had or someone had talked to my cousin Ryan in NY and that he was safe. I couldn't believe what was happening...couldn't believe it...

I was glued to the news for the next couple of days, like everyone else. I fell in complete love with Rudy Giuliani, like everyone else. And i was in everyone else. 

A handful of specific memories flood my brain as i think back.  First, i remember that they completely shut down any air transportation.  There was NO ONE in the sky.  And though we barely pay attention to planes  overhead normally,  i suddenly felt the overwhelmingly loud silence in the skies now.  I remember so very specifically the first time i saw a plane fly over my head again.  I was outside on a stoop at a friends house when i heard it.  4 planes flew overhead in perfect unison, stirring a feeling in my heart that i couldn't even describe.  They were so close. They were so loud.  And they were so beautiful.  It felt like they were flying in slow motion. My heart was literally pounding. It was amazingly surreal to watch them.  My extreme imagination was sure it was someone very important like President George W. Bush himself flying above me that night in Blaine ...

Those feelings are ones we should never have had to feel.  The silence of war preparation. The unbelievable anticipation. It was all we could take as we processed it all and clung to what was next.

I remember thinking that in a heart beat i would sign up to serve our country. I would have left in a second.  I felt overwhelmed with patriotism. Overwhelmed.  Like everyone.

The memory that sticks out the clearest to me is driving down Highway 10 in my black Dodge Intreped with my flag, tattered and torn flapping in the breeze, on my antenna. I was merging into the right lane to prepare to exit onto HWY 65 N.   There was a truck that was just ahead of me and it immediately caught my eye because it had a huge flag which they had rigged perfectly to stand erect in the bed of its truck and it was blowing beautifully in the wind.  As i got closer to him i felt connected to him.  We were in this together and we felt it, together. We were Americans and we were one.  (I know it sounds silly, but i can still remember that moment) As i got up next to him he looked over at me and i looked at him and there was a silent exchange between us. And then a slow nod of our heads that spoke more than we could ever say. It still gives me chills to this day.  Time stood still alot that September.  And for a moment it didn't matter if we were Democrat or Republican left or right. We were Americans. We would bleed red, white and blue had we been cut.

I remember feeling overwhelming pride when i would listen to Bush speak.  I clung to his every word and felt safer just hearing him.  Like a Father figure to the Americans, Bush was in charge. And I liked that.

I think (i know) life changed for every American that day.  We all remember it.  Even though the dramatics of our patriotism has lessened in the public eye, it changed so much for me.  I can hardly get through the National Anthem anymore with out being overwhelmed with pride, i can barely even listen to Lee Greenwood, and i feel consumed with gratitude and a quiet admiration when i see anyone in uniform, its feels like "thank you" just doesn't express the enormity of gratitude and pride that i have for them.

We lived through a monumental time in the history of the United States and i am looking back on those memories with pride and pain today.  We have pledged our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America all of our life and i am really proud of that.

Oh, and you bet your butt I'm gonna be hooting and hollering when Lee Greenwood says "From the lakes of Minnesota..." Every time i hear it for the rest of my life!! :)  Go Red, white and blue!

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