I feel sad. I was sad when I woke up and realized it was September 11. When I've had the time to stop and reflect, it has made me sad to think of the thousands of people whose lives were dramatically affected that day. It seems that literally every person I talk to knows exactly where they were and what they were doing when those planes hit the Twin Towers. That's how deeply our country was impacted.
I also feel frustrated. All day long I've known that I wanted to write something about 9/11; something that remembers and honors those whose lives were lost. So I began searching the internet for other users' contributions: memorials, photos, tributes, etc. I thought it might inspire something thoughtful and maybe I'd find some photo or video that sums up how I feel about the day.
But as I scrolled through several news feeds I not only had a hard time finding my inspiration, I struggled to find anything about the attack in NYC, 16 years ago today. Instead, I found a lot about the hurricanes (not unimportant by any means), an update of a shooting in Plano, TX that left 8 dead, an article telling me that parliament is divided (this is still news?), Australia had a poll that looks "promising for marriage equality", and FINALLY an article about 9/11. Except that article was only talking about how some Fox News reporter had the AUDACITY to say something insensitive to prove a political point. Literally nothing else in mainstream media searches.
I don't remember 9/11 that well. I was 9 years old. I remember that I was mostly upset because I couldn't find any cartoons on TV after school, until my older sister came home in tears, explaining to me the gravity of what those news stations were showing. What happened on that day has become more important to me as I've grown older because I have read about the stories of the men and women who sacrificed their lives for others, the heroics of rescue teams, and the unveiling of how ugly this world can be.
As I turned to older generations again this year to learn and grow from their memories, I've been disappointed, and quite frankly, disgusted. Everything is so polarized it has completely overshadowed a lot of the things that really matter. The two sides can't even stop bickering long enough to respectfully remember and honor the lives of everyone affected by the horrible tragedy that shocked our nation.
That attack on the US reminds me of a fatal car accident. In one split second, everything changed and we were left shell-shocked, trying to pick up the pieces. I believe right now, our nation is in a fight for its life, but it's not from a sudden, terrible accident. Its more of a steadily advancing, terminal auto-immune disease. We've been slowly destroying ourselves from the inside-out.
16 years ago we came together as a nation, embracing one another and lifting each other up as we united in a struggle to get back on our feet. I believe we can do that again. I'm discouraged, though, because I don't know if we are capable of such a dramatic shift without a traumatic, jarring accident to snap life's priorities back into their rightful places.
I hope I'm wrong.