I remember my mom telling many stories about social experiences growing up that were particular to her era. One was where she was and what she was doing when Kennedy was assassinated. She was at school and described how they were told and how devastated everyone felt. How people who weren't even friends cried together. It seems everyone from her generation has a story about whet they were doing/where they were when they got the news.
Fast forward to today. It seems that 9/11 is that story of this generation. The tragedy that happened where everyone knows and has a story about what they were doing/where they were when 911 happened. How surreal and unbelievable it was that not only did it happen, but parts of it right in front of our eyes, and the sheer volume of human human lives that were taken and affected was insurmountable.
Its hard to believe that was 11 years ago. 11 years. And yet we can recall those feelings like it was yesterday.
I can't decide if this is a post about where 11 years went or what 9/11 means now. Perhaps a bit of both as it was such a marker in human and personal history.
I know where I was. I was working as a secretary of development at Wheaton College. Tuesday morning meeting and devotional was interrupted by someone running into the meeting room, which was where the only tv was, and turning it on and demanding that everyone watch what was happening. I remember not believing my own eyes. Not only in processing that there were people in a building that a plane crashed into, but watching the second one go in. ANd trying to figure out in my brain what they heck was happening and why.
The entire workday was spend staring at the computer, looking for any updates on the story. Fielding phone calls from donors and alumni and people associated with the college. Todd Beemer was an alumni and I fielded that call.
Going "home" and processing it alone was not on my priority list, luckily I had planned to go to a volleyball game with Ang R. , but that game was cancelled so I just hung out at her home for hours glued to the news.
I look back and think about what a fragile time it was for me personally. At such a crossroad. I was at a job I hated and was not good at. (I was a secretary; anyone who knows me knows I have the administrative and organizational skills of a monkey). For a school with a lot of money when I could not afford to finish my own education. I had such a fragile ego, faith, sense of worth, purpose, etc. Yet I knew that there was more and I knew hard work and I loved God. And that was enough for then. Because it carried me to the next steps.
At that time I never would have guessed I would be where I am at right now. In so many ways. THe way I see the world has changed (I think 9/11 did that to everyone), my place in life has far exceeded my expectations (God has a way of doing that), I have a sense of personal peace, a beautiful family, an education I fought for (BA and MA), a job I love, a sense of hope and purpose, a healthy skeptecism, a knowing of who I am and where I came from, my politics have changed, and so much more.
My faith in humanity. While one cannot help but wonder what drives people to such horrible acts, I have a basic belief in people. Whereas I did not used to have that. After such a horrible incident, people came together. All of the sudden America was United. No left or right. rich or poor. black or white. Just hurting people who were trying to make sense of a horrible incident. (unfortunately our Muslim brothers and sisters became targets of our anger).
I have a need to believe in hope amidst tragedy. Light in the darkest hour. I have always had a peculiar fascination with tragedies such as the Holocaust. Not so much that it happened, because unfortunately tragedies happen, but the stories of hope and triumph that came out of such a dark place. A flower amongst the ashes. I have to believe that that exists. (please...you don't want my discourse as to where that need comes from)
I suppose my hope, is that in remembering 9/11, that for at least myself, that I remember that hope. That even though a nightmarish incident happened, that we can survive. That while we grieve, and have scars, that we can be ok. That life can be good. That people can come together and support and love and make something good out of something bad. Triumph over the darkness. Even if its painful. And horrific. No matter what that dark is. Personal loss. A recession. A hurt. A violation.
The terrorists hurt and terribly violated the nation, individuals, families, our sense of security. But we still live. We still love. We still succeed. We still triumph. That is my inspiration. And that is the victory.