• The Hopefulist

A day of remembrance


We've been talking about persistence all this month and I don't know of a greater example of that than 9-11. They tried to break us that day. They tried to take away our sense of security and our way of life. They succeeded briefly but we came back stronger than ever. We persisted. And we will never forget or have we?


I was on a staycation from my job as the news/traffic reporter for the morning show at Q102 in Philadelphia. I was at the gym getting a workout in with my trainer when he told me the news. He would often walk his son to the daycare across the street from the gym while he piled on the reps for me. He came running up the steps to the gym announcing that I had taken off the busiest news day of the year as a plane just flew into the World Trade Center. I was stunned. I was scared. I didn't know what was going on. At first we thought that was it. But it wasn't. There was much more to come.


I don't remember if I finished my workout or not but I drove home with the news station on. I had to stop for gas and cranked it up so I could listen while I was pumping my gas. I remember people looking at me oddly. I thought...they haven't heard yet. I drove away from center city to my home on the west side of town. I remember scanning the sky to see if there were any planes heading toward the tall buildings. As Philadelphia's, we often get overlooked because we are between New York City and Washington DC. This time...I was glad. I was happy we were considered insignificant to be skipped.


By the time I got home a second plane had hit the towers and one tower had fallen. I remember watching the second tower fall, not realizing that was a live shot. I thought it was a replay of the first tower falling. I had never felt so alone. And then to my dismay, my boss called to see if I could come in and give live updates for the radio station. They had tapped into a news feed from CNN but wanted to do some live traffic reports and updates about local conditions. How could I do that? I didn't know what to say. I was scared of messing up. I was scared of not sounding sorry enough and not professional enough. I ended up staying there until about 9 pm that night and went back in the next morning at 5 am. We took calls from people all morning long. To let people vent their feelings. People were calling looking for their loved ones. They had to get out that their husband, father, son, brother, wife, daughter, mother, sister had not come home. Had anyone seen them? It was beyond heartbreaking.


Although I was in the midst of it that day I didn't know anyone who was touched personally by the tragedy that day. In the sense that they lost someone they loved that day. Until I moved to where I live now. There is a woman in my book club who lost her husband that day. He was a firefighter and ran into the buildings as everyone was running out. My experience seems pretty tame compared to what I imagine she went through that day. She lost the love of her love, the father of her children. He went off to work one day and never came home. My heart breaks for her and her family.


It's been 19 years since that horrific day and I wonder what her husband would think about the state of our country today. It saddens me how at odds we all are. I've never seen our country so divided. I've never seen so much hate and animosity toward our fellow Americans. We somehow have gotten a message that if someone doesn't agree with us we are allowed to name call and bully that person. In fact, it is almost like a gang mentality. I live in an area where my politics differ from the majority. I hesitate to make my opinion know because I have been ganged up, called horrific names and bullied because of my point of view. Heck, my own family and friends differ on most of my political views, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't name call and bully me. We often hear in our area where all the opposite point of view is. You have all scared me to say my opinion. It has gotten to a point where my husband doesn't want me to fly a flag of my choice for President because he's afraid someone will vandalize our house. How sad is that?


But I have decided to forge ahead. I feel the need to have my say. That is my right as an American. It doesn't mean I don't like you if you feel different but I do like to hear different point of views. I have learned to have political conversations with an open mind. To learn and hear why people feel the way they do. I like to see what they see. Maybe I will see it too. But it's unlikely they will change my mind nor will I change their mind. I hope we can still have an adult discussion about the pro's and con's. It can be done. I've done it. No name calling, no assumptions about what type of person I must be. Just an open and honest conversation.


And at the end of the day when I feel sad about how divided we are I try to remind myself that people are still dying to get to this great country every day. That we were attacked 19 years ago because people are so jealous of the freedom we have here. That they wanted to stop our great way of life. And although they hurt us, they didn't break us. And I hope no one ever will. Especially ourselves. I hope we can figure out a way to get that camaraderie back. I hope we can start looking out for each other again. I hope we can find a common ground in this great country of ours. We are the UNITED States of America. I hope we can act like it again soon.

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