That One Day….

My grandmother used to tell me that the day I (and my sister as well, later) was born was a day that she will remember forever.  She told me that it was inexorably burned into her memory as one of the most important days  of her life (I was the first grandchild of the family, my sister the first girl).  I was 10 back then, and I didn’t understand what she meant back then.

On September 11, 2001, I knew exactly what she meant.

I can remember the day down to the most minute details.

In fact, I remember that I woke up here on the west coast, not knowing what the heck was going on.  Literally.  My family always had a policy of no TV, not even news, as we were in our morning routine – packing lunches, getting dressed, getting caught up in bathroom wars with one another.  So, as I was walking to school, I was completely oblivious as to what was going on.

Then, as I walked in to the school gates, I knew something was wrong.  Two of my closest friends had come running to me, asking if I knew what happened.  You see, one of them had a relative that worked in the World Trade Center.

The rest of the day was a blur of information.  The school was knowledgeable enough to know that this was going to shape the face of the new century (and possibly millenium).  All classes were to stop instruction, and projectors were set up with live feed of CNN.  We watched as the towers collapsed.  We watched the second plane crash into the tower, the burning rubble, and eventually the towers come crashing down.

Each instructor did tie in their subject to the news, to put a spin on how what we were learning could really be applied in real life.  P.E. was about the physical exaustion that comes about from climbing 90 flights of stairs with the firefighting equipment, History about how this would be written in history books years from now, calculus about how they ensure safety of structures through similar calculations that we were learning.  It was an earnest attempt to sober us seniors (it was my senior year) that we were about to be let into a world that was much bigger and more complex than we could ever have imagined.

If we look back, every generation has one of these days – days that through horrific, or insane acts, they will remember like it was yesterday, freshly and forever burned in their minds.  Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, VE Day, Kosovo, 9/11, these are the days that will forever be burned into people’s minds.

9/11 has an even more resounding message for us here in So. Cal. this year.  Two of our own fire fighters were killed in a horrific fire not a month ago.  It was declared arson.  It is difficult for me to fathom why someone would do such a thing – the fire destroyed countless homes, injured many people, not to mention the burden to our already overly stretched state budget.

There are other days, too, that have impacted peoples lives forever.  Woodstock, The Moon Landing, The Space Shuttle’s first flight, these days were positive, and influenced the generation just as much as any of the negative aspects.  History, however, pays more attention to the negative, and probably rightly so.  The negative illicit a much stronger, contracted response from whole nations.

To all who were effected by the 9/11 attacks, today I offer my respects to you.  To all of the Firefigters, Police, and Paramedics who lost their lives, your courage in the face of all odds inspires a nation.  Today, I thank you for your sacrifice.

Today, I long for more Woodstocks.

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