Ten years ago today


Ten years ago today, a new generation had their “Pearl Harbor” moment, the day that will live in infamy all of our lives.
Ten years ago today, the complacency of many Americans was shattered as we realized there were people out there who wanted to hurt us. To kill us.
Ten years ago today, we realized the wars of our generation would not be fought in the same way of the wars of our forefathers.
Ten years ago today, we saw the worst of humanity – and we saw the very best.
Ten years ago today, Americans were united in the love of their country.

In some ways, a decade seems like half an eternity. In other ways, it seems like yesterday. I was home, working on the computer when my brother called and told me World War III had started. I rushed upstairs to turn on the TV in time to see the second plane hit the towers. I watched the collapse of both towers, heard the news of the Pentagon attack and learned of the heroism of the passengers on Flight 93. Later that day, I learned that one of the women in an online scrapbook group I belonged to lost her husband on that flight. Even later, I discovered her husband was Todd Beamer who uttered the words “Let’s roll.” As a midwife, I did prenatal visits that day and cried with women as we talked about the children who had lost parents, the parents who had lost children and a nation who had lost a generation of innocence. In the evening, my sons and I put up 100 flags around our neighborhood – and wished we had 100 more.

A few weeks later, my husband and I were on a place to Kazakhstan. Bombing in Afghanistan had started and we were headed to a country in that same general region to adopt two little boys. Some of our friends expressed fear for our safety and wondered how Americans would be received. Security was super tight getting on each leg of our trans-continental flight and we were not traveling light. Imagine our delight when we arrived in Almaty, the capitol of Kazakhstan, and saw dozens of American flags proudly hung outside the windows of dreary grey apartment buildings. Everywhere we looked, the beauty of the Stars and Stripes spoke to the solidarity of the Kazakh people with their friends in the United States. Everywhere we went, people offered their apologies for the attacks and expressed their love for America. We arrived back on US soil with our new sons on Thanksgiving Day – one of the most tender, poignant Thanksgiving celebrations ever.

In the intervening years, I have traveled to Ground Zero and cried. It is one of the most sacred sites I have ever visited. I have been to the Pentagon, taken the tour and heard the story of that day 10 years ago. I marveled that so many lives were spared and cried for those whose lives were not. I have not yet been to that field in Pennsylvania, but those passengers on Flight 93 epitomize the American spirit. When they knew there was a problem, they took care of it, without counting the cost. Without hesitation, they sacrificed their own lives and saved countless others. I cry when I think of them. In fact, I wonder how many September 11ths there will be before the remembering does not make me cry. So far the answer is “More than 10.”

The lessons from 9/11 were reminders, really, of what America is all about. Pride in our country, sacrifice, generosity, faith, a reminder that we can do hard things and we don’t have to accept the status quo. As we look forward to the next decade, my sincere desire is that we apply those lessons, that we not be lulled back into complacency, and that even in the face of evil, we not sacrifice liberty for a false sense of security. I believe in the resiliency of the American spirit and I believe that we WILL make the hard choices that must be made to get this country back on track. September 11th is a prime example of our strength and tenacity as a nation. May it ever be so.


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6 Responses to “Ten years ago today”

  1. markg91359 Says:

    9/11 was a terrible tragedy. Yet, it was also proof that our government and military can function very well sometimes. We decimated Al Quaeda. We even prevailed in the Iraq Conflict, despite its enormous cost and the dubious reasons for going there in the first place.

    How sad that the Teabag folks now think that an effective government can no longer be trusted. All it represents to them is something to be cut at all costs.

    Perhaps, they will elect some fool like Rick Perry President and get their way. Than, and only than will some realize just exactly what they did lose.

  2. Ten Years Later. « BelieveHopeLoveInspire Says:

    […] Ten years ago today (hollyonthehill.wordpress.com) […]

  3. Greg Says:

    We already have elected a fool. And yes, we are beginning to realize what we have lost.

  4. Speckk Says:

    Spot on Holly. Remember the fallen and take inspiration to make sure their sacrifice was not in vain; that the American people rise up not only in bravery, but also in tolerance and solidarity with good people the world over.

    I’ve certainly called out political statements that I’ve felt were inappropriate today. We have made mistakes in the past decade, but for today we remember and pledge to do better together.

  5. rmwarnick Says:

    Did Americans and our government learn the right lessons from the 9/11 attacks? I don’t think so. We have witnessed ten years of war crimes, torture, assassinations, and violations of our Constitution in the name of “homeland security,” yet we still live in fear.

  6. rmwarnick Says:

    Oops, I meant to say, “they want us to live in fear.” Our national security strategy is completely counterproductive, but more Americans died last year from lightning strikes or dog bites than from terrorism.

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