If you look at the date on this paper, it likely touches off a flurry of memories. Images, perhaps, seared in your memory.
Where were you, what were you doing, 12 years ago today when the world as we know it changed forever?
It’s one of those days that can be brought back so clearly, so quickly, the emotions of that day still reachable, just under the surface. If I had any doubt that Sept. 11, 2001 had lost just a smidge of significance, a recent re-run of a program on the events of that day erased it in a heartbeat. I was using the remote, changing channels and looking around to see what might be on of interest, when I saw a jetliner crash into one of the Twin Towers. Just seeing that immediately took me back and my hand put the remote down. I was transfixed, yet again.
The sheer magnitude of the terrorist attacks, in New York City, on the Pentagon, the jet that never made its true destination because of the selfless, heroic acts of passengers that forced it down in a field in Pennsylvania, sacrificing their own lives to save countless others … it still packs a wallop.
As it should.
There have been a handful of days in history that can be remembered so clearly; some before my time, like the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or more of my parents’ era, such as the assassination of JFK, and more recently, the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger with the first teacher in space on board.
Each has its own place; each has brought change.
But none perhaps was so ultimately unifying than 9-11, when we became a country united against terrorism. We still fight the battle today; though some restrictions have relaxed and you don’t always have to take off your shoes to go through airport security. But the fact remains that the lessons learned from that terrifying day in 2001 and the days that followed – when we looked for more threats, more attacks around every corner – made us stronger as we stood together.
Some communities host annual 9-11 gatherings and people that might not fly the flag any other day choose to show their patriotism on Sept. 11. It’s something we owe to those who lost their lives on that early fall day a dozen years ago, whether they were simply at their job, getting their work day started, or rushing in to try and help when the first of the towers was struck.
I remember getting ready for work, listening to the news on the radio and hearing about the plane going into the tower, the earliest reports not sure if it was deliberate or an accident. I turned on the TV and was watching the scene live as the second plane came in; it was then we as a country knew we were under attack.
Though it’s a cliché to say ‘life goes on’ it is also true. People still have birthdays on Sept. 11, people go to work, kids play sports games, there is homework to be done …
But let’s also remember to take just a moment out of our busy day each Sept. 11 to think of those we lost – and honor the sacrifice of those who continue the fight against terror, here and abroad, each and every day.
As we should.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.