Long After 9/11
Janet Kuypers commentary
After seeing compassion and empathy after natural disasters like the tsunami in Asia in 2004 and the damage after hurricane Katrina in 2005, it reminds me of the compassion and empathy we all felt after 9/11 for all of those who were put in harm’s way only because they went to work in new York. I remember actually watching the planes crash because my husband was watching the news before he left for work that morning, and for days I tried to get a hold of my friends and family. My friend with the Aid Force was scheduled to have a meeting at the Pentagon that day, but they opted to reschedule their meeting for a week. My brother-in-law was supposed to be meeting at the World Trade Center that day, but he decided not to go there that day. And all I keep thinking about is that news reports were stating after 9/11 that if flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville Pennsylvania landed less than 30 seconds later, my nephew would have been killed while in school from that crash. Flight 93 crashed very close to my sister-in-law’s house, and after 9/11, my nephew couldn’t sleep for days. My friend who lived in DC wasn’t near the Pentagon but dealt with the tight security and the constant roads being closed. He talked about how different streets would be closed on different days and that there were so many military guard there you felt like you were in a war zone, which in a way, you were.
I’m sure we all have stories of losing, or almost losing, someone close to us from 9/11. And these terrorists were stopped on 9/11 from being on different additional flights, and I believe it was in their plan that one of them was slated, I think, to sun into the Sears Tower. I know that for months afterward whenever we were driving toward the loop, taking the Kennedy expressway where you could see the Chicago skyline get closer and closer, I know that every time we drove by, I would be sitting in the passenger seat and I would imaging seeing a plane fly right into the side of the Sears Tower, toward the top, to the side, exactly like how it happened in the television footage to the second World Trade Center building. I imagined it, just like how you saw it over and over again on television, when we were flooded with images of it on the news. I’d see a plane flying right into the tallest building, this landmark to Chicago.
I saw that for a while, whenever we would drive into the city, but after all this time that image is starting to disappear from my memory.
After 9/11, we may have felt like we wanted to prove to the terrorists that we weren’t afraid of them, that we would still fly in airplanes after they tried to use our technology and accomplishments to destroy our spirit. But although those images from that horrific day may fade from our short-term memory, we will always make a point to look over our shoulder and try to be both more cautious and more safe when we know that there are people that will try to do anything to tear us down.
Looking back over the years, I realize that there are many things that can hurt us, but in our day-to-day lives, we think of things like car crashes, or things more mundane that can cause our downfall. It becomes so unsettling when the things we have to fear are either natural disasters, or enemies who try to use our accomplishments as weapons against us.
I guess as civilization has evolved we have always had battles to fight, so now that we don’t have to fight wild animals for survival and food, and now that we have the sciences to save us from many viruses and diseases, we will still always have something fighting against us. Even though we know where it is safeer to live because of weather patterns, we still will choose to live where it may be more dangerous. So we will continue to deal with natural disasters, and we will always have some sort of enemy to face.
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