Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today.

Photo by Andrea Booher/FEMA News Photo
I made this video a year after September 11th, of photos set to "I Believe" by Blessed Union of Souls. It's not the best... I was 15 and had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to do something so I'd never forget. 

video

Writing about September 11th is something I've never done and something I still can't do without getting tears in my eyes. I wasn't there, I didn't lose anyone I loved, but it's as real to me as if it were yesterday. 

I was 14 when the planes hit the World Trade Center. A freshman in high school and just barely into my second week of classes, I'd never heard of the Twin Towers or terrorism. I could maybe point to the Middle East on a map, maybe, and war was something we studied in history class. I was sheltered and naive, convinced that nothing could ever hurt me or the people that I loved.

September 11th was the day that innocence about the world was shattered. It was the day I realized that bad things happened to people who didn't deserve them, things I couldn't understand and would never understand. It was the day I realized that everything could change in a moment.

In a heartbeat.
Photo by Richard Drew/AP Photo.
It was the day I watched a plane intentionally tear through a tower. I felt as if the ground had fallen out from beneath my feet. Was this real? I watched as people jump to their death off the sides of the buildings, watched them fall and fall and fall to avoid the flames. I watched people run, ashen and terrified, through the streets of New York, listened as people screamed for their loved ones, played voicemails left by those saying "goodbye, I love you" for the last time, held up photos of their missing husbands, wives, children, and friends, and shifted through the wreckage at Ground Zero, looking helplessly for anyone still alive. 

No, I wasn't there. I didn't lose anyone I loved. But that day is forever etched into my heart as if I did. 
Photo by Konrad Fiedler/New York Sun.
We all lost something that day. And today is about remembering. 

No matter what you believe or where you were, today is about remembering how it felt that day. Watching silently as the news reports came in. Watching as the second plane hit and the towers fell. What it felt like to be lost, helpless, confused and scared, wondering if there'd be another attack, what was next, if everyone we loved was safe... and how we rebuild and heal. 

It's about remembering there are still families out there who lost everything. That 9/11 is more than a just a historic moment, a talking point, or a day of patriotism, not when there are children who have grown up without their mother or father and parents who've had to bury their children. 

It's about remembering the people who survived. The lucky few who made it out of the tower, were somewhere else that day, or were pulled miraculously from beneath the wreckage.

It's about remembering the people of New York- those on the street, the first responders, the heroes who ran towards Ground Zero as others fled, those who risked thier lives to search for survivors- all those left standing in the aftermath, who saw the plane, the fires, the people who jumped above them as the towers fell, images that are forever seared into their minds. People whose lives will never be the same... and who still need just as much love, support, and prayer as they did in 2001. 

Today is about remembering that life short and unpredictable... and being thankful for every moment we have. The passengers on those planes weren't worried about the spiraling economy, which celebrity was in rehab, whether they'd gain ten pounds, or the price of gas. They spent their last moments thinking of the people they loved.    

So today, remember. Take advantage of every moment. Tell someone you love them. And above all else, never forget. 
Photo by Chang W. Lee/Getty Images