In Memoriam

1:21 PM

Many people remember exactly what they were doing when they found out what happened on September 11th. It was right before I had to leave for school, and I was fiddling around on the internet (which we had only had for a year!) before school. I was wearing a red and blue striped shirt. My mom turned on our tiny black and white TV, and told me what happened. I was sad that such an awful event had happened, but I didn't fully grasp what it meant. I spent the next few weeks decked out in patriotic gear and felt so proud to stand in solidarity with the rest of America. I understood what had happened was terrible and traumatic. I understood that many men and women were brave and had lost their lives. I understood the word terrorism. And my life went on as if nothing had happened.

Every year I would have a moment of silence or say a prayer on this day, or do something to acknowledge this terrible event. But my life went on.  It wasn't until I very recently read The Secret Agent, by Joseph Conrad, that I understood what happened. I live in a world with terrorism. My life drastically changed. Loud airplanes sometimes make me briefly wonder if it's a bomb or attack. I can't go into the airport or an airplane without wondering, just for a moment, if this will be the day a bomb goes off in the airport or if someone will hijack my plane. It's brief flicker of a thought, but its's there. Do I live my life constantly in fear? No. But there is a fear deep within my soul that will never go away. It's a fear that my generation and all the generations after me will live with. We don't know a world without events like these.  We were discussing terrorism (as part of the class discussion on The Secret Agent) and my professor said that events like these were unfathomable to him until they happened. He grew up without fear of terrorism. He grew up in a world where people didn't fly planes into buildings. I did. Michael did. Our kids will.

I was also unable to grasp the horror of that day because I had never lost someone close to me before. On September 11th, 2008, my Gramps unexpectedly passed away. The many lives lost mean so much more to me now that I've felt loss in my own life.

When Michael and I have kids, we will tell them all about how our lives changed on this very day, the day that terrorism became real to us. We will tell them about the great bravery of those who lost their lives, and how strong those who lost their loved ones were. We will tell them about the first responders, the people inside the towers, those who raised up and took on the terrorists, and those on the plane. We will tell them how grateful we are to live in a country that became stronger in the face of something horrific. We will tell them how grateful we are for those who serve our country (and their families) and those who have died defending our freedom. We will tell them how we thankful we are to live in America. We will tell them that though we live in a world where these things can happen, we need not be afraid because we serve a wonderful God and our lives are in His hands. And then we will pray for our country.

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