Today is Tuesday September 11, 2012.
Of course you know where you were the moment that you heard about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center eleven years ago today. I was carrying a computer down the hallway to return it to the office where it belonged after I had fixed it and someone told me. I called him a liar. I then walked into the office where the TV was on one of the morning programs to see the second airliner hit. Luckily I had already placed the computer on the desk or I probably would have dropped it.
There were not a lot of televisions around and the internet was flaky because everyone was trying to figure out what was wrong. We were all called together, told to go home, and call over the next few days to see when we could come back to work (I work on a military installation). As the systems administrator for the small network, I was almost the last to leave - there were things to do, to secure.
I wanted to take my son out of school and just hold him. I called my parents to tell them that I loved them (forgetting that my father had undergone surgery that morning, can you imagine waking up to that news?). I watched hours of TV that afternoon and long into the night.
It was a horrible, awful thing. The worst thing that has happened in my lifetime. Can anyone ever forget those horrors? The rumors that were not true (I heard someone on the radio say that the FBI building in D.C. had been hit by a car bomb) and, worse, those that were?
This is a wound that probably will not heal for quite some time.
Yet, haven't we forgotten? Not the images of those who jumped, of the Towers falling, of those in NYC running away from that wave of dust, of the firemen raising the flag, of that giant, gaping wound in Manhattan. But everyday, we get up, go to work, move on, move forward, many of us lost no one, knew no one, sacrificed no one. And most of these United States has not sacrificed for what came afterwords.
The mourning gave way to war. The joy of coming together, of standing (metaphorically) shoulder to shoulder gave way to lies about Saddam Hussien. And instead of being asked to build a victory garden and given gas coupons we were told to go shopping and take vacations.
It was a horrifying day, but the months that came after were beautiful. Now that beauty (for me) has been tainted by the lies, the dead military members, the fact that this country could send men and women to war without any idea how to care for them if they returned home. And it has been further tainted this election year by the fact that no one seems to be able to admit wrong doing on the part of those who DID wrong.
So for the past two days I've seen that there are 9/11 retrospectives on TV and most of my friends have posted "I will never forget" pictures on Facebook - most of which are truly haunting and beautiful - and all I can this is, "What are you remembering?" Because I remember a country that stood, for just a brief, inspiring moment, together.