Monday, September 12, 2011

9/12: I Never Want To Forget

After sharing my memories of the day of 9/11, I wanted to be sure to record what I never want to forget about living the next few months in a post-9/11 world. 

I never want to forget being hesitant to go see the musical "Mamma Mia!" in Boston the following night, how it felt wrong to go out and enjoy yourself.  I never want to forget the cast coming out and talking about their similar hesitation and ending with a rousing rendition of God Bless America.

I never want to forget my dad and I staying home for the first New England Patriots game when the NFL started playing again - it was against the New York Jets and the symbolism of the Patriots vs. the Jets with the potential for a terrorist attack was not lost on us - and feeling sheepish afterwards when everything was ok.

I never want to forget bursting with patriotism and American pride, covering my car with whatever patriotic sticker or American flag I could get my hands on.  I never want to forget driving the lake by my house with Lisa, Amanda, Chris and Ryan, blasting "Proud to be an American" and Whitney Houston's version of the "National Anthem," stopping at any policeman, fireman, or military man we saw to say, "Thank you for serving our country!"

I never want to forget our school holding an assembly in the following days featuring speeches by state Rep. Brad Jones, and others, and worrying that people like my leftist teacher Mr. Ryan might turn it into a lovey-dovey peacefest, so I volunteered to give a speech.  I've already forgotten what my speech said, but I never want to forget that my opening lines were: "Does anyone have any personal connections to the victims of 9/11?  The truth is we all do.  We are all Americans."

I never want to forget how the world changed on that day, how insignificant it felt to be going to high school and college, how I wanted to quit school and do something meaningful like become an army nurse.  I never want to forget taking California schools off my list - if there was another terrorist attack, I didn't want to be cut off from my family for days, I needed to be close enough to drive home in an emergency.

I never want to forget the spirit of unity and patriotism that swept the country and left us with such hope for the future, and the sadness as it faded over the weeks and months and years, seeing fewer and fewer flags, watching the media get less and less patriotic - even talking "quagmire" within days of our assault on Afghanistan.

I never want to forget any of the events and actions I made in the weeks that followed 9/11, as insignificant as they may be they are mine and now they are forever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that this is an awesome essay. I too never want to forget what it was like after 9-11. Your story brought that all rushing back to me, the flags on my car, the rush of patriotism that I felt (even though I was already a patriot), the pride in my country and president.

The anger I felt when a weepy leftist that I went to college with had the temerity to send out a mass email to all of us cautioning against being angry at Islam. Preaching about all of the wonderful Muslims they personally knew. That even then, when our country had just been attacked by murdering terrorists, there were still smug, hippy elitist anti-americans.

The togetherness that we felt as a country, right after 9-11, it was great. Thank you for bringing that feeling back.