Every year, September 11th rolls around. And, every year, for the past fifteen years, I stop and pause at about 8:45 in the morning and ask for forgiveness for myself for my anger, and my rage, and for the forgiveness of those who perpetuated this attack that I cannot grant. I ask for peace and comfort to be granted to the families of those who lost loved ones on that day.
For the past several years, I have found myself asking what happened to our sense of righteous anger for an attack on us that targeted innocent civilians? What happened to that sense of community we shared in the aftermath of the worst attack on our soil we have ever experienced? What happened to the righteous anger that seethed within us, the need to right a wrong so grievous our nation and even most of the world came to a shuddering stop for days?
I cannot forget the events of that morning in September, 2001. I will never be able to forget the hysteria, the panic, and the absolute terror in my daughter’s voice when she called me from school, and begged me to come and get her. Her terror was real because at the time, we lived within the fallout range of a nerve-gas ‘munitions storage facility. I will never forgive the people who perpetuated the attack on our soil and made my baby girl so terrified she could barely speak to me on the phone.
I will never forget the quiet rage I saw simmering in the depths of my son’s eyes and that gave a dead, level near monotone to his voice when he announced he wanted me to sign for him to enlist in the military. He was all of seventeen. I made him promise if he still felt as he did on that day when he turned eighteen in six months, I would send him to the armed services with my complete blessing. I will never forgive the bastards who put so much anger into a young man known for his sweetness and light.
I will never forget how sick I felt watching that second plane angle into the Tower and the sound of the engines revving higher—all for maximum impact. I will never forget the tears I shed for a friend who was booked on that second plane. For three days, I cried for a lost friend. And, when my cell phone rang with his number in the caller ID, I was almost afraid to answer it. At the last minute, the business deal he was working on fell through and he had to spend another day in Boston. It took him three days to get out of Boston and get to somewhere with a cell phone signal.
I will also never forget my husband holding me the night of September 11th as I cried for the fear and rage my children suddenly knew, cried for the “hole in the world”, cried for the loss of my friend, cried because I couldn’t strike back at those who had struck us. My husband didn’t know what else to do, other than hold me, and he held me as if I would drown if he let me go. I might have drowned in my own tears. Even now, the memory of those dark and painful days for the nation I love has me writing this with tears rolling down my face.
I will never forget where I was on that beautiful fall morning when I heard we had been attacked by cowards purporting to be advocates of a religion of peace. If this and the many continued attacks against Western civilization and freedom is their idea of peace, I want nothing to do with it.