I have re~posted what I wrote last year on the anniversary of this horrible day, my generation’s Pearl Harbor. The day we lost our innocence and belief that terrorism could never happen on American soil again…The day the fact that another religion hates us so much for being Americans, Christians and Jews that they would kill themselves in order to kill us was drilled mercilessly into our collective psyches. The day that forever changed us as a people, citizens and a nation…This is our Memorial Day.
This is a documentary I had not yet seen until a couple of days ago. It is quite amazing. It is visceral, powerful and thought-provoking. It brought me right back to the feelings I had on 9/11. It is called The Falling Man. I hope you will watch it, in it’s entirety, and comment on it.
“Is Jonathan Briley the Falling Man? He might be. But maybe he didn’t jump from the window as a betrayal of love or because he lost hope. Maybe he jumped to fulfill the terms of a miracle. Maybe he jumped to come home to his family. Maybe he didn’t jump at all, because no one can jump into the arms of God.
Oh, no. You have to fall.“
The film is centered around the famous picture of the man who jumped from one of the upper floors of the North Tower that day, rather than burn to death. This was the last thing the victims had control over — how they were going to die. Many made the choice to jump and breathe some fresh air as they plummeted to their deaths. They all knew they were going to die that horrible day, at least they were able to choose their own method.
I wrote about my feelings last year. That post is still valid today, except my feelings have become even stronger. Is it because I am older? A Mother? Or because it has been eight years and there has still been no closure or justice for those murdered that day and Bin Laden still trolls a cave somewhere in Afghanistan spewing out his hatred and vitriol against my country and my faith? Or is it because I hear and see all the hatred lobbed at our soldiers and their families for doing only what they signed up for and are directed to do?
I cannot answer that. I only know that I have heard the worry in my friends’ voices as they tell me their husbands or sons or brothers are being sent on another tour of the war zone. Many of them have already done 3 tours. This war is seemingly never-ending, but it is necessary in order to keep our world free and safe.
Freedom is never free. I wish the protesters against this war would take a moment to realize that small fact. The reason they are able to protest freely and without fear of death or torture is because of the sacrifices made by our soldiers and their families.
I remember waking up that morning at 6 am to get ready for work, turning on the KTLA Morning News, as I did every day, and seeing these images. At first, I thought it was a clip from some new action flick, so I didn’t really pay much attention. I kept going about my morning, making my breakfast, etc.. When I finally sat down to eat & looked back at the T.V., I was transfixed. I truly could not believe that what I was seeing was real. As the full magnitude of what had just happened permeated my mind, I felt my heart begin to race.
I knew, without hearing any journalist speak the words, that Bin Laden was responsible. He had not accomplished what he set out to do in ’93; this was unfinished business. And, sadly, I also KNEW what this meant for my country.
As I was driving to work, I listened as a flabbergasted DJ screamed “The tower just fell!!” I gasped in horror. I was stupefied. How could this happen in America? How many people have now lost their lives just because they went to work today or boarded a scheduled flight? How could NO ONE have had any inkling that this was about to happen? WHY has this happened? Of course the answers to these questions would become clearer in the coming days, but I am still, seven years later, trying to understand why.
The images of that day are burned into my psyche. They still haunt me. The memories of that day & those that followed are still so visceral. I recall everything becoming so eerily still & quiet. All the planes were grounded. Co-workers of Middle Eastern descent, walked around with their heads down & would barely speak to anyone. I scarcely even recollect hearing any birds singing. It’s almost as if they knew that our world, our lives, had been forever & irrevocably changed; that even their sweet songs could not break the deafening, black silence that had overtaken us.
I recall the elation I felt upon hearing someone had been pulled from “The Pile” alive. I also remember the inexplicable sadness when they stopped finding anymore victims. I recall the heartbreaking faces of the husbands, wives, mothers, fathers & children who were searching in vain for their loved ones. Those who were hoping against hope that they would find them alive. I remember. I remember. I will never forget. I cannot.
At that time, my husband was Non-Active Reserve, Air Force. I fearfully waited for a call from the base telling us he had been re-activated. Fortunately for us, that call never came. But many other families just like mine were not so lucky.
In the 7 years since 9/11, I have become a mother. She is now 3 1/2 and one of the great loves of my life. I wonder about what her life would have been like if the attacks had never happened. I also ponder what changes are in store for her growing up in a post 9/11 world. How will her childhood differ from mine & her Daddy’s? Are terrorist & Osama Bin Laden going to be words that she understands before she is 5? What kind of country have these evil acts left for our children to inherit?
This past week-end, My husband & I watched “World Trade Center” & “Flight 93″. For whatever reason, these two films affected me in a very profound way. I sobbed through them both. Lately, I find myself having extremely visceral reactions to anything 9/11 related. Maybe it is because I am a Mom now. Maybe it is because it has been 7 years and they still can’t find Bin Laden. I don’t truly understand it myself. I only know that this event was my generation’s Pearl Harbor, and for us, now, September 11th is our Memorial Day.