I sit here tonight reading an article on the New York Times about Sept 11, 2001 and the accounts of particular citizen’s of New York City and their accounts of the days after that day. The article had a fire chief, a souvenir shop owner, a parking garage manager and amongst others recount the aftermath days that we all thought marked the end of era for a magical city and in a more grim perspective, the end of the peace in the world. The article displays that today those fears have been curbed and lessened but there is always the reminder for every person who witnessed that day.
So as I was reading the article, I came across the section about an American Flag seller and how people were openly patriotic, then I myself decided to reflect and take the time machine back to those days.
My first memory of that day was sitting in 2nd period and hearing my math teacher humorously tell us a story of how his wife went missing the previous day. He was interrupted by a phone call (news of the World Trade Center), he hung up the phone and then proceeded to finish his story. Then he told us about a plane hitting the first tower. Due to his lack of urgency we assumed that a little two person plane struck the tower, ohhh how wrong we were. Then to the next period where I came to a silent band class which was littered with worried faces. There we were informed about the true gravity of the two towers and pentagon being hit, and there being still 70-80 planes not accounted for… there I feared the end of the world was coming.
Now fast forward to the football game that following Friday night. The night was a crisp autumn night, we marched onto the field to play the National Anthem. As we took the field I noticed that the bleachers had a much bigger crowd than usual, people probably wanted a well deserved distraction of what happen just south of us in the city. Families crowded the stands, flags flew and everyone just seemed more kind to each other. As our band went to attention, the crowd eagerly waited, similantously our 200 person band unveiled flags from our music flip books. The crowd erupted in a roar that I have never experienced, a sound in the autumn night that I will never forget for the rest of my life. It was a bittersweet night that I will always cherish.
Now today, like the persons interviewed in the nytimes article, long for something of that particular past. A past where together our country stood together for a common good, not to identify a particular enemy, but the commonality of wanting to take care of our fellow citizen. Now again we have become feverishly and almost violently fragmented as a people over issues of war, economy and health care. We as a people are liberally accusing one another of being unpatriotic and traitors. I miss the times when we were all just a little nicer to eachother. Does it take something so terrible like on that day to bring us together again? How quickly we forget don’t we…