September 11, 2001 was day we won’t forget, a defining time in our nation’s history, and the first of its kind for the generations who hadn’t been exposed to such feelings of terror nor national vulnerability before that day. This blog post is a day late, but I spent some time yesterday reflecting on the sacrifices made and the lives forever changed on that September day in 2001. Alan Jackson wrote a poignant song about September 11, 2001 that asks, “Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?”, and I think that everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they learned that the United States was attacked nine years ago. I remember receiving emails from my friend who was serving in the Air Force at the time:
To All My Friends and Family:
I just wanted everyone to know that I’m okay. We are not going anywhere. Our jets are on standby, but that’s it. Also, Jerry made it home okay, for those of you that were worried. I love you all, and I miss you.
Things are still going as well as can be expected. We are currently
working 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week. Please, I’m asking everyone,
do not call me during the day, because most of you know that’s when
I sleep. I’m working 7:00pm to 7:00am. If you absolutely need to get in touch with me,
you can call me at home between 5:30pm and 6:00pm, or in an
emergency I can be reached at work. (Mom and Dad you
can call me anytime, even at work if you want) Also I check my
e-mail a few times a night, so I will respond to everyone as quickly
as possible. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, but I
only have limited info at this time. For everyone wondering, we
currently have 1/3 of our jets standing by with a full load of fuel
and equiped with armed missles. If anything else happens, the jets
will take off and patrol from South Carolina to the Southern tip of
Florida (the Keys) They will shoot down anything that comes within
that area. They will give the planes one warning and if they don’t
turn back, our jets will shoot them down without hesitation. We are
very tired and will be even more worn down by the time this is all
over. Working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week will do that to you.
Again, if anyone has any questions, please e-mail me. I love you
and miss you all.
Her emails illustrate the widespread uncertainty coursing throughout the nation at that time as well as the need to keep close contact with friends and family.
One of the most moving experiences I’ve had was visiting the 9/11 museum in New York city a few years ago. It was a somber experience, and there was scarcely a dry eye left amongst those who came to learn, reflect, and pay tribute to the victims of 9/11. The victims, their families, and those who were affected in other ways by the infamous September 11, 2001 were in my thoughts and prayers yesterday, as well as they are today, and I’ve included the following video if you’d like to reflect as well. God bless America.