My mom woke me up that day. The towers had been hit and the second had just fallen. I remember calling my boyfriend (now husband), asking him to come over. We sat and watched in disbelief at what was happening. It must be joke. How could something like this happen, here, to us? That day would become etched into my memory, much like the assassination of JFK for my parents. It was so emotional and remains that way for me today. Much in my life has changed since then. Today I’m the stay at home mom of three children, wife to eleven year veteran, and we live a stone’s throw from one of the day’s targets.
Twelve years have come and gone and I still don’t feel like it has gotten any easier. So when will it; do I want it to? Most every generation has some type of event in their history that remains with them; the whole “I remember where I was” type of event. My mom tells me the story of the day when President John F. Kennedy was killed. She was in the third grade, and her teacher took a little boy out of the class room and he came back in crying. She remembers that the little boy was a particular fan of the President. When we watch History Channel events about JFK she doesn’t cry like I do when I see something that is about 9/11. Was it because she was so much younger than I was when her significant event happened? It wasn’t a prolonged event like the terrorists attacks of that day. The sheer magnitude of the events that took place answers the question for me, but there are still times I wonder if it will ever get any easier. There are times where I still can’t fathom that it actually happened. Once we moved to DC those feelings became stronger. When we drove by the Pentagon for the first time it was such a surreal experience. You see these things on the news, they seem unreal.
But should it get easier? Should it stop affecting me the same way it did that day? I don’t want to ever lose sight of the event, for it to become one of those things that I reflect upon once a year while wearing my flag pin. My children will one day ask me where I was and what I remember, just like I did my mom. The world they grow up in now is so different than before, so it will be more than just the specific event that will be important to talk about. Their view of the world right now is one of happiness and relative peace. Frankly I’m glad that there life is sweet and simple. Very soon they will have to know of all the world’s ugliness. They will learn about it in school and we will talk about it at home. It will just simply be a part of their lives. I hate that for them. Things are so different now. The realities of war and terrorism are simply a part of life and that’s just strange. That’s now how I grew up. I realize the Gulf War was going on when I was little but it was different somehow. They weren’t on our turf and my dad wasn’t fighting them.
Then last year, the attack on Benghazi. The same day. All the controversy surrounding it, the lies, the questions, the speculation. The images that I saw and couldn’t look away fast enough. Hillary Clinton crying over a colleague and friend. Stories of heroism came forth that day, stories that cause you to simultaneously be saddened and inspired by the fact that the America you love isn’t gone. The memory of those men need to be remembered as well.
The day has one final memory, one that is more personal. Less than a month after my husband and I were married a friend from high school died in an accident. He was our age and that was really difficult. Contemplating mortality that personally. I came home from work that day to a message from my mom to call. I called her back and she uttered the words. I fell to the floor in a heap screaming “no!” You see our friend was also dating one of my very best friends, so not only was my heart breaking for the loss of him, for his amazing family, but for my friend who was there when it happened. I scrambled around trying to find the phone number for my husband, who was a couple hours away in a different state at a new job. Somehow I managed to find the number on our lease and called him. I drove to my parents house and we crumbled in the front yard. Why? I don’t pretend to understand why things happen the way they do. We live in a world of Sin and nothing is perfect. I get that….but why? I remember as a large group of us huddled in the atrium of our church, we all wondered why. We listened to our pastors give us words of peace, but we still wondered why. We named our son after him.
We aren’t meant to know the reasons why things happen. This is the conclusion that I’ve come to. No matter how much I think about something, things that are senseless just don’t make sense. I don’t think they will ever. Because of that, I don’t think it will ever get any easier.