Posts Tagged ‘September 11th’

3520 days. That’s how long it has been since two commercial airline jets controlled by evil terrorists turned a seemingly beautiful fall day into one of the darkest moments in our nation’s history. It is a day that forever will define my generation. I, like the rest of the world, will never forget where I was when news broke of the horror unfolding around the country. I was in a band rehearsal at Elm Street Junior High School. The principal came over the loudspeaker announcing that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. I was too young to understand the magnitude of what was happening until our teachers turned on the television and we watched thousands of terrified people run for cover as the first tower collapsed. A friend of mine had a father that was an American Airlines pilot who happened to be flying that day – he was uncontrollable until he could find out that his dad was safe. For the rest of the day, school was essentially cancelled. How could we possibly work on anything else while this was happening?

As horrific as the tragedy was, born out of the massacre came the strongest feeling of community and patriotism that I have ever experienced in my young life. American flags were hung with pride outside of houses and support poured in from all 50 states for the city of New York and the brave men and women who were helping with the recovery effort. Candlelight vigils were held to pray in unison for the victims, and Americans stood tall illustrating the resolve and pride that comes with being a citizen of this great nation. I remember feeling a prickle down my spine when then-President Bush stood with a megaphone on a pile of rubble and told the American recovery team that “WE HEAR YOU,” indicating that the US would stop at nothing to bring justice to those responsible.

Over the course of the last 3519 days, life has certainly changed. We have been at war the entire time, and simple daily activities like boarding an airplane have become political hot button issues. However, for those who lost loved ones on 9/11/01, the extra 5 minutes in line at the airport is hardly an inconvenience worthy of discussion. For them, life will never be the same. We remember the numbers: 2,973 people, 343 firefighters, 23 NYPD, 37 Port Authority Police Officers all killed in cold blood. For the families of the victims, they remember the individuals. As President Obama said in his address last night: “The empty seat at the kitchen table.”

So what does the death of Osama Bin Laden mean to those people most closely connected to 9/11? I heard on a radio broadcast this morning perhaps the best description: A gentlemen (I can’t remember who it was) said, “This may not bring closure, and it may not bring happiness, but at least, in some way, it finally brings justice.” As we have repeatedly heard on the news, the death of Osama Bin Laden doesn’t mean the death of the terrorist network. We must remain on high alert because evil has not been conquered. With that in mind, however, this is a fantastic psychological win for our nation, our military and intelligence professionals, and a rare bit of good news worthy of celebration in a world where it is often fleeting.

The past 3520 days have been full of economic instability, military casualties, and the rebuilding of a nation. Here’s hoping that the next 3520 days are full of peace, happiness, and a renewed spirit for America!

Numbers taken from 911 count up dot com

Follow me on Twitter: @billconnolly

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