Crown Jewels: Remembering 9/11
Memoriam for those lost on that dark, fateful day in American history:
Four words sum it all up: We. Will. Never. Forget.
Those words are a symbol of the solidarity of the great country of the United States of America and those who died on that fateful day of September 11, 2001. Many individuals would emphatically say that it was the day that America was robbed and stripped of its unweathering freedom. While that may ring true in some capacity, the reality remains that it has without question left a lasting memory in the eyes and mind of everyone who breathed air that morning.
Everyone knows the saying by now that you’ll never forget what you did on that particular day alone. Being in eighth grade at the time, I had no idea what was going on when one of the staff members delivered a paper message to my English class, 8-212 home room. Then, after my teacher turned on the radio it sort of made sense. Then, a few periods later in my history class and watching the flames on television, it all made sense. That is, to almost everyone else except me.
It wasn’t until a little bit later that day that I found out that America was under attack. My dad has picked me up from school and told me later that day that the United States was about to go to war. In the back of my mind I thought, “Go to war? I thought that kind of stuff happened in your generation, not mine.” The terms war or terrorism never occurred to me as things I would have ever experienced in my lifetime. Especially not on the day where I came home to play video games and watch television like any other recently turned 13-year old child, who just got off early from school. I had the slightest clue as to what this reality truly was.
The late great Peter Gammons of ABC News anchored the news coverage that I paid close attention to as highlights of the World Trade Center was seen engulfed in flames with audio playback of screaming witnesses trying to make sense out of what just happened in front of their very eyes. The events that followed, including an attack on The Pentagon near my hometown of Washington DC and a plane that crashed into a suburb of Pennsylvania, put the country on the edge of mortification, confusion, sadness, and anger in addition to those who wanted to exact an immediate measure of revenge on those responsible for these attacks on our homeland.
By the end of the day, myself and the rest of the nation witnessed former President Bush address the American people in the oval office with affirmation that the country was safe, secure, strong and resilient. He assured us that whoever was responsible for those who terrorized our homeland would be captured and brought to justice, the American way. It was an affirmation that I deemed too unreal to believe at the time, but over the years I ultimately accepted as a part of reality.
From that point on, it had seemed that everything changed. Music itself became more patriotic and as a way to band us all together, including a song that stuck with me for a very long time and that ultimately defined that period of my life, “God Bless the USA” by country music artist Lee Greenwood. Unbeknownst to me, the song was recorded in 1984, but the first time I heard it was after the attacks. It’s as if what took place on 9/11 gave the song a rebirth and made the American people feel a sense of camaraderie amongst one another, if even for a little while. It united us and we responded in the most red, white and blue way. We listened, to every lyric and sung in unison.
It’s amazing what little things can do to help us come together at such a trying time in our country. The victims on those American Airlines flights that day were the reason we sung along. They will never be able to see their families again. They’ll never reconnect with their loved ones or see them in the flesh for the rest of eternity. They won’t be able to live life because of what happened that day, but they will always be with us in spirit. In our hearts, in our minds, and in our thoughts, they forever remain with us as one of our own. As true, proud Americans who didn’t die in vain, but rather were the sole reason that we united to bring them justice in the end. Those citizens, as well as brave firefighters, policemen, the brave men and women of our United States armed forces, will live on in our lasting memories as those who stood for American solidarity and patriotism.
They are the true jewels of America.