Where were you on 9/11?
It seems like the question on everyone's mind. I've been asked that question a thousand times and go on to say I was a flight attendant...I had just come home on a red eye from San Francisco. I watched in horror as the entire day played out on T.V.
But I think we were all in the same "place" on 9/11. Every American...people all over the world...we were all in a state of shock. We were all transfixed. We were all standing together in mourning for the thousands of lost souls.
I was lucky that I had almost a week before I had to go back to work on the airplane. I sat in front of the TV day and night. I grasped onto any bit of news and I sobbed.
Watching those strong, brave firemen got me every time. Seeing their pain and their anguish as they tirelessly tried to rescue their fallen comrades and every civilian made me proud to be an American.
I watched in horror as they filmed people falling from the windows. Was it their choice to jump? Did they choose flying free and breathing air for the ten seconds that it would take for them to drop? Did they know a worse fate was ahead of them if they stayed in that building?
To me this didn't at all seem like a suicide. I see the "jumpers" as people ready to fall into the arms of God...and getting a head start. That's how I chose to feel better about what I saw. Seeing those falling angels made me proud to be a child of God. I knew that He caught them before they hit the ground.
As I watched New Yorkers, notoriously tough and brave, walking around in a daze with a look of despair on their faces...it made me so sad. I cried for them. I cried for their families who would have to figure out a way to comfort them. I cried for their futures - knowing that all of that air they ingested that day would surely come back to haunt them.
As I watched those firefighters go back day after day after day...breathing that air...and attacking what seemed to be an insurmountable task of cleaning up and restoring New York...I was proud to be an American.
That day will never make sense. So many unanswered questions. Why were we attacked in the first place? Why did it appear to be so easy to hijack those planes? What must have gone through the minds of those ON the plane - knowing they were about to fly into that building...or the Pentagon? What made those three towers crumble - especially the third? Why?!? We will likely never know the answers to these questions.
Someday, Gavin and Brian will ask about September 11, 2001. It will likely be a story in their history books. I don't know what I will tell them...mostly because I don't understand much of it myself. But I do know I will tell them this...
Every day we can wake up and decide to be afraid. But if we do, we miss out on the joy and the happiness and the beauty of this life. There is always a chance that something bad could happen...but there's a better chance of a lot of great things happening. And sometimes it takes something bad to show us all something good...
...like that clear, beautiful day in September, 2001. We ALL became Americans.
So where were we, you ask? We were shoulder to shoulder...joining hands...on our knees...holding every lost soul in our hearts. And we all came together in a way that we never had.