My memories of the tragedy and heroic acts of 9/11

September 14, 2013

With the 9/11 terrorist attacks 12 years in our rear-view, the painful memories still play vividly in our minds as we try to move forward from the tragedy.

Everyone remembers that horrific day that would go on to change our country dramatically.

I was sitting in Ms. Purvis’ seventh grade classes when the principal made an announcement on the intercom that the United States had been attacked by terrorists. My classmates and I could not fully grasp the meaning of that statement until our frenzied teacher turned on the TV as we were scarred with the images of planes flying into buildings, fire, smoke, people jumping from collapsing buildings. I will never forget the look of shock and fear on Ms. Purvis’ face. What we had seen on TV seemed unreal.

Later that day when I learned of the thousands killed in the attack, though I knew none of them, tears ran down my face at the thought of what the families must have been going through and what would happen to the country.

As our horror and terror were contrasted by Middle Eastern citizens cheering in the streets at our misfortune, Americans just wanted something done. Even if it meant an ill-conceived war in a region that has been baffling American presidents for decades now.

Now years and years of war later, we’re not only weary of war, we’re all out anti-war. I would believe that there was a time in American history when a leader gassing his own people, a sizable portion of them children, would have generated a stronger response from Americans. However, many congressmen have stated they polled hundreds of their constituents showing that more than 90 percent are against intervening in Syria and from the reactions I’ve seen of locals, the idea seems absurd. Even Republicans known for their desire to project American power around the world seem to be opting out of this intervention.

Maybe the war resulting from the 9/11 attack has given us a new precedent for how American’s view our role in foreign affairs. I can’t be sure, but I for one am glad to finally see some reluctance to bombing our way to peace.

Thank you all firefighters, officers and rescue personnel who risked your lives that day to bring peace to the victims. Thank you to all soldiers who fought overseas as a result of 9/11. You will always be remembered.