Thursday, September 11, 2008

On 9/11 We Remember

This morning, on my way to work I passed the National Guard Armory and just as I was driving by I saw a soldier come out to the flag pole to lower it to half mast in remembrance of 9/11. He saluted and then taking the lines in his hands began to slowly lower the flag. I had a huge lump in my throat, remembering.

I was working at Ball State and the news reports started pouring in. T.V.s were on, everywhere. No one was working, people were crying in disbelief, calling loved ones. That day after work, they had a small memorial service on the quad. I remember how I found Joe G. and we cried together. I was working on my undergrad and had class that night. Before going to class, I called both of my children - just to hear their voices - just to make certain that they were o.k. Laura was at I.U. then.
A graduate student was teaching our Ed Psych class and a test was scheduled that night and she tested us. I couldn't believe she tested us but afterward, we were free to go. The tears started to fall as I walked to my car. When I got home, I was shocked to find that I didn't have any messages. No one had called to see if I was o.k. and I felt frightened, alone and vulnerable. I didn't want to see any more of the horrific images on T.V. , so I went to bed.

A couple of years later, in a Linguistics class, we were studying speech patterns and how you can often tell a person's intelligence or educational level by the way that they speak. What we did was to ask people to tell their story of 9/11/01. Then, we reported our findings. Everyone remembers where they were, who they were with, how they felt. Everyone has a story to tell.

I knew a family from New Castle that had a daughter there when it happened. She was one of those who was running late to get to her job that morning. She told me her account of what happened and how all she wanted to do was to go home. To be with her parents in her home town, to eat home cooked foods, to be with friends and family. I remember her mother told me that she couldn't reach her daughter by phone for something like 48 hours and she said "all I could do was believe that she was o.k."

That November, I went to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Indianapolis, where they light the giant Christmas tree on the circle. Together, a crowd of thousands stood together, packed so tight we could barely move and we lifted our voices together and sang the chorus to "I'm proud to be an American." The tears flowed freely down our faces.

Proud to be an American - Music and Lyrics by Lee Greenwood.
If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today,
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.
And I’m proud to be an American where as least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.‘
Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.
From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee,
across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea,
From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA,
Well, there’s pride in every American heart,and it’s time to stand and say:
I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A

Yes, they changed this country on that day. Created more solidarity, more national pride, more strength, more determination.

We remember.


Stacy said...

Thank you for sharing your story :)

Diane said...

Beautiful post... and thanks for visiting my blog :)


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