.

Rising

Eleven years ago, I went to bed thinking today would be just another day. Now, our national history turns on this day more than any other.

It started last night.

I was on Twitter when, around 11:00 PM, things started turning somber. One hour to midnight, and the collective thoughts of the Twitterverse turned towards our national pain. It was like hearing the voices of people in support group, each one crying out from our haunted past.

I was visiting my in-laws...

I was on active duty in North Carolina...

I was at home from work, sick...

I was waiting for my husband's flight to land...

I was pregnant...

I was frightened...

I was shocked...

I was...

I was twenty-four, barely married, sitting behind a desk that was way to big for me, symbolic of the position and responsibility I held at the time. I had the radio in my office on and the sudden break in programming - "The World Trade Center buildings have been hit!" - made long-forgotten pages in my history books suddenly spark with life.

Panic. Fear. Armageddon. Planes were crashing from the sky and into buildings. Planes were falling from the sky into fields. How many planes were compromised? Were our skies littered with flying missles under enemy control? Who was responsible? Why would they do this?

How many would die?

For a nation with a penchant for taking certain days and making them memorials, the sad irony of September 11th becoming a memorial against our will was powerful.

We watched the news footage, only it seemed like something from a movie, except that it happened in real life. We learned, truly learned, that there are people who despise us - not just in some figurative sense, but literally, enough so that they would willingly strap themselves inside a plane and kill innocents who were guilty of nothing more than drinking coffee and being one of us. We saw heroes run into the mouth of damnation - into the mouth of Hell - to save whom they could. Many of them perished.

Their names, along with the names of those who could not be saved, are now carved into stone, set into the ground upon which they died.

Set into the hearts of their countrymen.

My friend, Kevin Bachman, posted something on Facebook this morning that made me nod my head and tear up. It rang so true to me, because of all the things that arose out of 9/11, the most amazing thing was our national strength, our bond.

Kevin says it better:

It's not the day itself I choose to remember but that brief window of time that followed it. Before war and division of opinion. The small time of unity when we were 'The People.' Together. Because we grow stronger when we have to. Because the American spirit defends and helps its brothers when they are too weak. And if there is one thing to never forget, it isn't the tragedy of our buildings crumbling at our feet, but the resolve we carry within us to lock arms and rebuild.

Of all the national holidays, today is the one with the most resonance. Unlike Hanoi, or Pearl Harbor, or Gettysburg, or Lexington, we saw this not through the eyes of history, but through the lens of a camera in real time. And so today is personal. It's painful. It's fresh. We cannot look at our lives today without seeing the residue from those collapsed towers. The cloud of dust that swallowed Manhattan as the Towers fell has left a subtle film all over our airports, technology and politics today.

Normally, we celebrate history as being just that - history. But today our history is our present, reminding us that we might be a city on a hill, but we are not above the turmoil of this Earth.

It is the beauty of our country and our people that when we fall, we rise.

And we will continue, rising.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dave Ballard September 11, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I was working a swing shift those days, and was sleeping in because it was a "day" off. I was awakened from sleep because someone had heard that a plane had hit the WTC, and what in the world is going on? I thought she meant some private 2-seater propeller plane. Not a jumbo jet. I turned on the TV and was watching smoke come out the side of one of the towers as the commentators contemplated whether the latest Spider Man movie release would be delayed because of its theme of terrorism in the big city. As they talked, a full two minutes after I turned the TV on (the view never changed the whole time), I saw a jumbo jet scream into the side of the second tower, and the commentators never paused. I assumed I was seeing leaked footage from the new film. I didn't find out until later that I had just seen United Airlines Flight 175 strike the South Tower on live television. The commentators didn't react for several seconds, maybe 20 or 30. Then, as though they had been tapped on the shoulder and told to look out the window, they began reacting: "What? Another one? It can't be... Ladies & Gentlemen, I'm being told that a second airliner has just struck the World Trade Center... a second passenger aircraft has hit the Twin Towers... It appears to be the South Tower that's been hit this time... Unbelievable... I just can't believe it." Who could?
David Binder September 11, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I'll never forget. I had just gotten home from working the night shift at DeKalb PD. I was on the computer checking my emails. My wife was in the bedroom getting ready for work with the TV on when she called me to hurry in & see. As soon as I saw that a plane had hit the tower I knew in an instant it was no accident. Having been a student pilot I KNEW that a plane that big doesn't just happen to hit a building like that. Then t 2nd plane hit & confirmed what I was telling my wife. We were under attack. As the story unfolded I remember that I couldn't get to sleep because I was afraid to turn the TV off. I went back to work that night to find coworkers in tears. Several were from the NYC area & had family still there. There was an armed SWAT unit on each floor of the building & at the doors. The bullet proof shades were drawn on our windows in the Comm Center so as not to be a target. Nobody knew what was coming next. Whether the attacks were over or not. From that point on our lives have changed. Air travel will never be the same. I think the only good that did come out of it was a new found patriotism & respect for our military & public safety. To say that's "good" is somewhat of a misnomer. NOTHING good comes from senseless murder & destruction. But we have to find good in all we do. Otherwise they win, and I'll be darned if I'll let THAT happen ! Stay strong America. Stay safe people of this great land. Thank you Military & Public Safety. God Bless America !
Dave Ballard September 11, 2012 at 08:58 PM
*Comment cross-posted to http://athens.patch.com/articles/where-were-you-on-9-11-when-the-planes-hit *
Tammy Osier September 11, 2012 at 11:44 PM
David, today I looked up into the air and an airplane flew over. I remember the deadly silence on the day of NO air noise at all. I remember feeling cold. That day will be etched in my mind. We've been attacked. We should never, ever let our guard down. But today, seeing the planes in flight gave me hope that everytime we fly, we're saying to our enemies who watch, "We'll never give up!"

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