I was in my college apartment when my phone rang. Todd was calling to let us know airplanes had flown into the towers. I was a little groggy and didn't understand the severity of the circumstances. He told me to wake up Julie and I said, "She doesn't usually care about world events." He said she'd care about this and to go wake her up. We didn't go to chapel that morning. We sat in front of our TVs. The rest of the day passed in a bit of a blur. Both towers had already been hit when I found out about it. The plane crashing in Pennsylvania's field came later. I remember hearing about President Bush being rushed to Air Force One and then no one knowing where he was.
Looking back, I was usually more adept at figuring out the nuances of situations. But, I remember not understanding the severity. I remember thinking it was weird President Bush was hopping all over the place. I wasn't really all that concerned about what would happen next. I certainly wasn't fearful for my life.
I called the hospitals a day or two later, wanting to donate blood. None of them were having a special blood drive or anything.
Our college had a special prayer time that night. Student led, we gathered on the lawn and prayed for our nation and the families of those that had died.
Everywhere we walked, televisions were showing news coverage. Those pictures of the smoke billowing out of the towers and the Pentagon with a huge piece missing.
Conversations about what had REALLY happened on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Questions about any other planes out there. Airports shutting down. Families in search of their loved ones. Missing persons signs being put up on any surface in NYC.
I remember the next time I traveled, which was sometime in October, there were soldiers holding very large guns in their hands walking around the airports. I didn't feel safer. I respected them. I appreciated them. But their very presence made me feel uneasy. We hadn't needed them before. But, our world had changed. People in charge had made a very real decision that more security was needed now.
In the coming days, books would be published, songs would be sung, counselors and psychologists would be interviewed and the pictures would come off the television. We didn't forget. We did begin to move forward. Some had gaping holes in their lives. Some minor tears in our internal fabric. We have all been changed. We all live a different life now than we did before that fateful day. I think the pictures are a good reminder of what happened that day. We don't want to forget.
I'm an American. I'm blessed to live here. I love being a Texan. Toby Keith's song makes me smile. I'm not typically like this, but it kinda feels like a good "chest beating" song. Stand up and hear us roar, so to speak.