Today’s date marks a day in history no one will ever forget...Sept. 11, 2001.
I’ve heard people all my life talk about how they remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard that JFK had been shot. I could understand what they were saying, but I didn’t really get what they meant.
I was editor of a newspaper up in Thomson, Ga., which was a bi-weekly. We had already gone to press with Wednesday’s edition, and I was at the library covering a children’s event when I got a call to come back to the office immediately. The World Trade Center had been hit.
After driving back to the office at a speed I won’t readily admit to, I literally had to run to the back and stop the press. All of us in the newsroom began to scramble for information that was reliable, and to try and find a local tie to the event.
We ended up with a completely different front page, and heard from some frightened people who have relatives who worked in the World Trade Center.
Those hours of waiting to hear if their loved ones were safe had to have been agonizing.
Over the next week or so, we continued to follow the story, and continued to ferret out people who were connected.
The truth is, we are all connected to that event, whether we knew anyone there or not. This is our home – and someone invaded it and caused harm. Of course we were all connected.
As I write this, I anticipate going to The Potter’s House daycare here in Tifton on Wednesday for a remembrance event they plan to do with the children. These children weren’t born when the towers came down. But they now live in a world where that type of thing is possible. Before 9/11, I don’t think any of us really thought it was. We felt safe in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Now, we are less naive. We know that anyone can sneak in our back door and take the lives of our neighbors and friends. This was re-emphasized for me when the bombings at the Boston Marathon took place. On that day, I thought back to 9/11.
On that day, I felt unsafe again.
But the thing that has held us together as a nation is that although we never forget, we also don’t dwell on it. We have pulled together as a country, and we have pressed on. So despite these moments in which we remember and perhaps feel a bit vulnerable, we link arms with our neighbors and say, with resolve, “We are strong.”
So today, as we remember that day not so long ago, let us remember that we are the UNITED states of America.
And in the words of MC Hammer, “you can’t touch this.”