Sunday, September 11, 2011

What 9-11 Means to Me

I was 19.

I woke up to our radio alarm clock like every morning. Justin was already gone - at work on campus. We had been married for three months.

The clock radio had a lot of chatter instead of music. It sounded important. Just as I was waking enough to understand it, the phone began ringing. I was annoyed and didn't want to answer the phone because I wanted to listen to the radio. It was Justin on the phone, telling me about the attacks on the World Trade Center.

I hustled to campus. The school had turned one of the lecture rooms into a makeshift theatre. A projector displayed the news on a large, blank wall.

Students and teachers crammed in alike. No one cared that we were all skipping classes. We were equal - Americans in our fear and grief.

Justin whispered to me, "I bet it was bin Laden."

I didn't know who that was.

I didn't even know what the Twin Towers were. Or the World Trade Center.

I learned.

After classes, Justin sat in our Spartan apartment and listened to the radio. We didn't have television. I felt like we could have been in the 1940's listening to President Roosevelt's fireside chats.

It was scary. I cried. Who didn't?

Ten years later.

I woke up to natural sunlight filtering through the blinds. I dozed in and out of sleep for another twenty minutes. I got up and checked Facebook. I heard Joci calling for her Daddy, so I got her out of bed. Using a recipe from Joci's latest Highlights magazine, Justin and Joci made pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes.

I took a shower. I heard Joci ask me something. I told her to ask her Daddy. A minute later I smelled something. I peeked out of the shower and saw Joci painting her own toe nails on top of the toilet lid. I hollered for Justin. He got an on-call phone call right then, so I jumped out - mid-shower - and got the mess under control.

We went to church.

Joci was hyper. It was a really long meeting.

We relaxed at home, looking up our family history and watching What Not to Wear.

Our flag is flying out front.

We've laughed all day. Hugged and smiled. Embraced our loved ones. Eaten delicious food.

I read stories to my baby. Rocked her. Said prayers with her. Sang her songs.

We're happy.

It's pretty obvious that the terrorists have not won. We have.


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