“What idiot would fly that low?” After the initial shock of seeing the black smoke billowing out of the buildings in New York on the news, that was my first thought.
That it was an accident.
In September of 2001, I was living in Snowflake, Arizona. I was nineteen years old, didn’t care about politics or war, and was living a brand new life away from home and family. Far away from the bustle and business of New York City, there was little to trouble me.
How very, very wrong I was.
I remember the footage of when the second plane hit. I remember the scene when the towers came down. There was a third plane crash into the Pentagon. Then a fourth, intended to kill more innocent people, was brought down by the valor of the civilians on board the plane, who chose to protect their fellow Americans.
Sometime in the hours that followed, I learned that it wasn’t the blunder of some moron who didn’t know how to fly a plane.
It was an intentional attack on American soil. A purposeful, heartless demonstration of inexcusable hatred.
Here follows an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote that very evening:
“Today is another day which will ‘live in infamy.’ The events that transpired this morning have been compared to the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II. Perhaps it’s a shadow of things to come. Of a World War III.
New York is covered with a thick layer of dust and grief. President Bush delivered a consoling address, asking for America’s prayers during this difficult and horrifying tragedy. Some call for justice, others call for revenge.
America has come together to pick up the broken pieces. We truly are the United States of America. My hope is that when the dust clears, the dead are mourned, and the heat has subsided, that we don’t forget this tragic event, and remember the unity and brotherly kindness we’ve had for one another.”
Ten years have passed. If there is one thing I hope for, it’s that no tragedy is wasted, no matter how much time has gone by. I would hope, for every person who was affected by this senseless act of murder and destruction, that each American would hold their head up a little higher, have a little more respect for one another and the nation that made us free, and “try a little bit harder to be a little bit better.” (Gordon B. Hinckley.)
And maybe we can be that United States of America we were always intended to be.
Question: What does it mean to you to be a united America? -PT