Monday, September 10, 2007

A Day Which Will Live In Infamy...

That is how FDR characterized the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. My grandpa, only a boy of 11, remembers that day sitting around the radio (remember pre-TV) listening to the broadcast and feeling as if Pearl Harbor was down the street and that the Japanese were going to be bombing his small, mostly agrarian community. He then remembers standing in ration lines and having to sit in the dark all evening as the government was concerned that lights would alert bombers flying overhead to the civilians below. Six years ago, I could never have imagined sharing a similar experience such as this with my grandfather.

Then Sept. 11th happened. It was just an ordinary day for us. RxMan was on vacation and we were doing some things around the house. Her Highness was 21 months old and we were watching Nickelodeon. Then the phone rang. My mother, who never, ever calls me, was phoning from work and wanted to make sure I was watching the news. Quickly, we switched channels.

And my world collapsed.

I really couldn't fathom the things that I was seeing on TV. Planes crashing into the World Trade Center? I didn't see the first one but RxMan and I sat in stunned silence as the second jet roared into the towers. I remember groaning and praying inside that this was a homegrown act of terror because if it was not we were going to war.

As the day wore on, I was more sad and worried than I ever remember being before in my life. I remember looking at my precious baby and wondering if having her was a mistake. What kind of life would she have when things like this were happening in America? We were the good guys. We have the most sophisticated Army in the world and there were planes flying into buildings and thousands of people were dead?! How in the world did this happen in America!?

I did not sleep for days. Every thought I had was consumed with all of those poor dead people. I worried if there were children in the towers. I waited for the rescuers to find someone- anyone- in the rubble. It did not happen. I prayed like I hadn't prayed in years, maybe ever. I held my little daughter tighter and my husband, too. I was scared. Terrified, in fact.

We had to turn off the coverage of the rescue efforts, just as Laura Bush recommended, because Her Highness was really affected by our constant tension and sadness. I made a conscious effort to put on a happy face for my child although the uncertainty loomed like a rain cloud in my life.

Life slowly got back to normal. But it was a new normal. Names like Rumsfeld and Bin Laden became part of my normal vernacular. I learned about jihad and that most of the Islamic world really would love to see the fall of our society. This was hard for me to believe because I thought we were the good guys. What had those 3000 people done to the terrorists? What had I done to them?

Six years later, I still turn the TV on every morning with just a little dread in my gut wondering if today is the day that will be the new September 11th. And, so far, each day I have breathed a sigh of relief that it didn't happen yet. So, has a lot changed in those six years? Our country is at war. Our economy is still struggling. Unemployment is up. But there have been no more terror attacks on our soil and for that I am glad.

So, tomorrow, a date I will never, ever forget, I will hug my husband, little girl and baby boy a little tighter and say an extra prayer for the safety of our soldiers, country and the families of those who perished on 9/11. And I will always believe in my heart that we are the good guys.

God Bless America... today and always.

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