Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm sure your news feeds and such are full of 9/11 remembrance pictures and statuses that say "Never forget." or something similar.  Maybe you shared something like that yourself.  Maybe you agree.  Maybe you agree, but it's getting annoying. Or maybe you just don't care and think America needs to get over it already.

I don't think I'll ever get over it.

Now don't get me wrong; I'm not sitting around all day, every day sobbing about 9/11.  A lot of the time I don't even think about it.  But inevitably, when September 11th comes around every year, I find myself crying (and yes, I'm an overly sensitive hormonal crazy woman who cries over everything anyway, but this is different).  Just thinking about it will bring me to tears.

There have been some major tragedies in my lifetime, some I remember and some I don't. I was in first grade when the Oklahoma City bombing happened; I don't remember too much about it, but I know the picture of the firefighter carrying of the baby is something I will never forget.  I was a senior in high school when Hurricane Katrina hit, and although I felt terrible about it, it didn't really hit me hard because it didn't affect me.  Fifty years from now, I'm not going to be able to tell you what year OKC was bombed; Katrina will probably be something I only think of when a hurricane is mentioned on the news.  No matter how old I get, I will always remember where I was when I heard the World Trade Center had been attacked.

I was in 8th grade at the time, and it was ISTEP+ week (for those of you not from Indiana, ISTEP+ is Indiana's standardized test that the Department of Education uses to bore kids to death).  I was in my reading class (Mrs. Sturgeon's class, to be exact).  After she had been told what was going on, she turned on the TV and we watched in silence.  The school was put on lockdown for awhile, so we all just sat there horrified at what we saw.

I will admit that I'm not the most patriotic person ever.  This country (well, humanity, really) drives me absolutely nuts sometimes.  However, I recognize how incredibly blessed I am to have been born in the US.  There are so many other countries where my life would be so much worse than it is, especially because I'm a woman.  I was born in a place where I have freedom other women only dream about, and for that I will always be eternally grateful; I'm grateful to God, grateful to the men who founded this country with different ideals, and grateful to all the men and women who have fought to keep it that way.

I don't know how it was for anyone else, but growing up, it always seemed like the US was invincible.  History books made it sound like we're the world's knight in shining armor: rushing in to help win WWII, fighting for our freedom, giving aid to less fortunate countries.  I was taught that we were the world's foremost superpower, and as such, I always had a sense of security, a feeling that we were so powerful that nothing could hurt us.

I realized at the age of 13 just how naive and childish that thought was.

Even though I was hundreds of miles away in Indiana, I felt like my world had been completely rocked.  I learned more about love and hate, war and peace, and what it means to be an American in that one day than I can even begin to explain.  On September 11, 2001, I grew up; I had no other choice.

So yes, I'll always remember.  Always.

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