Here we are one year removed from the tragedy of the World Trade Center. How have we evolved in that year? I have been hard pressed to think of how it has effected me personally, beyond the initial sadness and disbelief that something of this magnitude could occur at all in our land of the free.
I remember the crying and the horror, numbness and helplessness that I felt. The great sadness that numerous mothers, fathers, grandparents and friends would not return home that day. How life had changed with the blink of an eye. The fact that this world can hold such horrors was not easy to adjust to. I know the world can be cruel and is probably more times than not. But, my world here in rural Utah is rather sheltered, we aren't exposed often to the harsh realities of what some people live with on a day to day basis.
The fact that so many people have died in the service to our country is a cause to be humble. We are so lucky that they were willing to sacrifice their lives so that we could enjoy the freedom that is so evident in our country today. To take these liberties and freedoms for granted is so easy to do. But, by doing so we stand to lose those very freedoms we hold dear.
When my son left for Australia in July of 2000, we watched him get on the plane, we wandered around the airport freely, I videotaped the plane going out to get on the runway and the takeoff. We were free to do this. When we went to pick him up in July of 2002, we had to wait in the lobby by the baggage pickup. We could see him in the terminal coming down the escalator. This was probably the only change that I directly felt by the events of September 11. Increased airport security, we are more and more limited in our freedoms as people cross one line and then another. In order to keep our nation safe, we have been forced to give up some of our liberities. I find these circumstances to be very sad, but I'm not sure what the better way is.
Indirectly or directly we were all effected by these tragic events that took place in our nation.
What have we learned from it? The increase in kindness and patriotism went on for awhile, but do we still feel it today? Have we incorporated it into our lives? Do we feel a lump in our throat and do we get a tear as our flag is raised or as it goes by in a parade.
I have a sister-in-law who was a patriot when being a patriot wasn't cool. One time on a family cruise, three years before the attacks, on international night they brought in flags from various nations and played the anthem from that country. When our flag was brought in carried by our cool waiter from Jamaica, the whole dining room was filled with tears of patriotism. That the flag of our nation can and does evoke such emotion is a powerful tool. If all of us could love and serve in America as this sister-in-law does then America would grow better, bigger and stronger with each passing day.
If we but try an act of kindness each day, if we treat those around us just a little better, if we make our world a brighter place; then the tragedies of September 11 will not have been in vain. We will have learned and we will have walked taller because of them.