Thirteen years ago I was sitting in Mrs. Hauser’s 4th grade class with my fellow classmates when an announcement came over the loud-speaker to shut the windows, blinds, and lock the doors. At such a young age, it was hard for myself, and my class, to wrap our heads around what all the fuss was about. Because of that, there was a little bit of excitement as, one by one, our parents came and picked us up from school early.
There my mom was, waiting outside in her mini-van, when my sister and I ran to the car, looking up to see a trail of smoke in the sky, and my mom running to us crying. She grabbed us, hugged us, and helped us into the car as quickly as possible. We asked what happened, and all she could say to our innocence was that a lot of little girls and boys lost their moms and dads today and that we have to pray to God that everything will be okay.
There was still a lot of confusion—why did kids lose their parents? Where did they go?
It became a reality when we got home and my dad was waiting to see if he would get called in. You see, he was a CT State Trooper at the time and was told to stand by. As President Bush begin his Presidential Address and names of those who died inundated the television screen, I knew my worst fear came true and we were under attack.
I laid on the couch, hugging my dad tight, as we both sat there crying, and continually asking him if he was going to be safe, and if we would be safe in our beds tonight. There was nothing he could do or say to fix what was going on. He used to be in the US Army, so all I could think about was that he would get drafted back in and I would lose my dad.
As thirteen years have gone by, I still read stories about someone who lost someone that day, someone who was supposed to be on one of those flights but by the works of God missed their flight, or even stories from the aftermath of that day-war.
Thirteen years have gone by and our world has changed so much. It may seem as though nothing ever good comes out of a tragedy, but I am a firm believer of everything happens for a reason. Now, that does not make what happened just, or give reason to why so many little girls and boys lost their parents that day, but it just gives a glimmer of light in a terribly dark room.
I recently read a story about a NYFD firefighter who sacrificed his life that day so he could save a pregnant woman under a pile of debris. That woman, and her son, is that glimmer of light in a terribly dark room.
Every time a soldier walks by in army greens I cannot help but have the utmost respect.
Every time I hear the National Anthem, it resonates a little bit more—knowing that we will always fight for our freedom because it is what this country was built on.
In thirteen years, we’ve seen a lot more tragedy—from financial massacres like the economy crash six years ago to shooting massacres like Sandy Hook in 2012..
Thirteen years ago is a long time but the pain still feels new. Those who are at fault for the 9/11 tragedy, and all those that have followed it, do not have a safe haven.
To this day, we still may not have all the answers, and millions of people are still missing loved ones, but we’re one nation under God and we’re sticking to our guns. We will not back down for our freedom, dignity, and opportunity. We are the greatest country in the world, and no Jeff Daniels, that has not changed.
Thank you to all those brave men and women who fight for our freedom in some way every single day. Your bravery has never gone unnoticed. Because of you, I can go to bed at night knowing I am safe. I always have joked that I am going to marry someone like my dad, so if he ends up being even half the man my dad is or one of you are, then I think I will be the luckiest woman on this earth.
Thank you for making me so incredibly proud to be an American, especially on such a tragic day like September 11th.
God Bless America and as Jeff Daniels’ said in The Newsroom 5/1 episode:
We were transformed that morning into a different nation, more fearful and so of course more hostile. And while nothing, not even this victory [killing Osama Bin Laden] our country has waited for, for such a long time can bring back the souls lost on that terrible morning in NYC, in Virginia, in a field in Pennsylvania and all across America and the world. Let tonight serve as a welcome reminder that throughout history, America’s darkest days have always been followed by its finest hours.