Redefining normalcy following 9-11
The most important event on our minds this week is our remembrance of 9-11 and the American souls that died during the cowardly act committed against our country. To us who live in the shadow of this tragedy we stand together, lest we forget; to the men and women we lost, may their memory be enternal.
A year ago tomorrow morning, Sept. 11, 2001, I was sitting on my patio overlooking the Colorado River in Bullhead City, Ariz. enjoying a cup of coffee.
Many mornings I have the news channel on in the background as I get ready for work, and eat breakfast, but some days I just like the peace and quiet and that is the way it was last September 11. I received a phone call from a friend in Phoenix telling me to turn on my TV, and the horrifying experience began to unfold in my living room.
That morning, as the world watched New York, Washington, D.C. and the field in rural Pennsylvania, it was a very similar feeling as I had the morning that Kennedy was shot, when the shuttle Challenger blew up or Princess Diana was killed. In each of these cases I was alone when I first heard the news and tuned in to find out the details.
I realized today as I began typing this that I do not like to be alone during times like this. It never dawned on me before but I quickly finished dressing and went directly to work where I was surrounded by friends and peers and watched in shock as the horrifying details unraveled.
This all reminds me of the country artist, Alan Jackson and his song, "Where were you" (when the world stopped turning). The verses still ring clear in my head of different responses that Americans had to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He wrote these eloquent verses after last year's events talking about his, and many of our feelings.
We've all heard the statement that nothing is ever going to be the same again. We will never get back the normal we once knew, but I heard just this weekend from a young women on a talk show that her normal is being redefined every day.
If we look closely at events that occurred in history during the month of September we will see that there were also some good things along with the tragedies that happened in the ninth month of the year.
It was Sept. 16, 1620 that the Mayflower set sail with a list of passengers that held hope for the new land and on Sept. 5, 1774 the first Continental Congress was held in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, an important date in the birth of our country.
I remember the story of Johnny Appleseed, who was born in September of 1775 and his planting of hundreds of miles of country with apple trees. In 1812 Johnny saved the village of trees. In 1812 Johnny saved the village of Mansfield, Ohio, from an Indian raid by bringing troops from Mt. Vernon, after an arduous trek through miles of heavy woodlands. He was a dedicated American.
When I was living in Bullhead City a year ago I also ran across dozens of dedicated citizens, following the terrorist attacks. I remember spending the late evening of Sept. 11 assembling and fixing flags which were placed on light poles up and down the city streets and highways in the town. I had the honor of working beside two elderly women, maybe in their mid or late 80's and they were recalling the morning that Pearl Harbor was attacked. This was over 60 years ago and these women, then very young, were called out to sew flags. As their arthritic hands struggled with the attachments, I listened in awe to their stories and the feelings of American pride.
They both had made a commitment back in 1941 that they would always be proud of America and volunteer whenever their country or community needed them.
If anything lingers with me, one year later, its the American spirit. Volunteering, patriotism, love and support, and the understanding the freedoms that we are blessed with.
Ordinary Americans have battled their own fears and doubts and rallied together. With a common purpose, we have rescued the trapped, rallied behind the flag, raised money, sewed flags and stuck together.
America's new day of infamy led to days of courage, resolve and determination. I, like those elderly women in Arizona, made a promise that I would always be there to support my country. It has changed my life and each day I continue to redefine what being an American means.