Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Repost from 9/11/2012

As a 36 year old non-military girl, my experience in the grand scheme of conflict has been limited. Both of my grandfathers served in WWII. My stepfather served in Vietnam. I was a freshman in high school when the first Gulf War began and I know people now who served then, but didn't know them at the time. And while I know there are other, lesser known conflicts in which American soldiers have been tested, there is really only one event from my lifetime that will be "my war". I was teaching special education on 9/11. I was still recovering from lung surgery and was only working half days. After we learned what had happened, we sneaked away to computers during specials, listened to the radio in the kitchen where there were no kids. And we all wondered if we were in danger. I didn't know exactly where Shanksville, PA was, so I called my grandparents in PA to make sure they were ok. I remember being frightened and asking my grandfather why this would happen. And I will always remember what he said. My grandfather, a Methodist minister and a WWII veteran, more haunted by his own images and memories of war than we could ever have known, told me, "It isn't our place to understand why things happen." I remember listening closely, waiting for a more acceptable explanation. One didn't come. At that moment, I became the person I am now. I've always had an unexplainable sense of patriotism. I cry at parades, sniff loudly at the end of taps and thank random soldiers in airports for their service. And last night, while watching yet another documentary about 9/11, I actually gasped out loud, covering my mouth with my hand while my eyes flew open wide at the sight of the second plane hitting the WTC. How many times have I seen these images? I though to myself that my renewed horror is important. My Pop didn't serve a year of his life on the border of Pakistan, for me to become complacent in the memory of 9/11. And while I know it's important to remember history, in that it shapes the future, the Battle of the Bulge and the boats on the Mekong Delta are just stories. Important! But to me just stories. September 11th, to me, is real. So today I ask you to remember. No matter the conflict, we must not forget. And no matter the heroes, we must always remember.

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