The folks over at Maya's Mom have a daily featured journal topic every day. Most days, I do get inspiration and ideas from them, other times, I don't. Today, the topic, not surprisingly, is Remembering 9/11, 2001.
I had not planned on writing about it, but after my day today, I can't help but think about it. Today was busy and exhausting, but when I think about the date, it makes me appreciate what I have and be thankful for it. A reminder that for some, people they loved never came home.
(After re-reading this, I can see that my thoughts are all over the place and don't really flow well, but I'm going to post it anyway. Hopefully, you'll be able to follow my train of thought all over the place...)
I remember 9/11/01 so clearly. We were living in London. Josh was 6 months old and my in-laws had come to babysit while I was working.
I had just come home from a morning meeting in London and was getting ready to eat lunch when the phone rang. It was Rich telling me to turn on the T.V. because someone had just flown a plane into the WTC. I was shocked.
I can remember watching the news reports in utter disbelief -- watching as first one tower then the other collapsed. The pictures, the images, all too frightening to be believed... I think I was in shock.
The next day, I went into the office. I worked for an American IT company in their UK HQ very close to (a very quiet) Heathrow Airport. I remember floating through the morning. Feeling alone and vulnerable. The world as I knew it had just changed and there was no going back. I felt violated.
Most of the comments and talk around the office was utter disbelief and compassion for all those that lost their lives.
But, I will never forget, sitting in the cafeteria eating my lunch when I over heard someone say, "Well, you know the Americans have always lived like they were untouchable. Something like this was bound to happen eventually, I'm not surprised. Now they know what it's like for the rest of the world." There may have been something in there about how we deserved it, I don't remember, but that is how I interpreted what he said. I was disgusted. I was hurt. I could not believe someone actually said that! Where was the compassion?
Now, maybe the passage of time and distance has softened somewhat, but perhaps there was an element of truth buried deep in there. Up until 9/11, we'd been untouchable. I was living in London -- a city that has had it's share of unrest -- both before and since -- homegrown and otherwise. So perhaps this person was just voicing his opinion or something, I don't know. But it's something that lives with me everyday. That there is this "attitude out there" toward America and Americans.
But this attack was different. This was on a scale larger than anything anyone could comprehend and it affected all walks of life from people all over the globe. And for the most part, everyone I talked to was compassionate and just as upset and shocked about what happened as I was.
It became clear to me that this did not happen to America and Americans, it happened to The World. Yes, we were most directly affected, but it has changed the World.
It also opened my eyes to truly understanding that there are those out there that hate me and my family simply because I'm American. No other reason. So, my goal as a parent, is to teach my children compassion. To understand that "different" isn't "wrong" or "bad" it's just "different." Hopefully, this will help them to make the world a better place.