14 years. Wow. 14 years ago I was married to Ben 8 months pregnant with my last child and on my way to work at Hooters when the first plane hit. Ben and I were fighting about getting the kids ready and Regis and Kelley were on in the background. We both noticed that something was going on and stopped what we were doing to figure out what it was. Slowly the news of a plane crash started coming in and then the second plane hit and then news of another plane hitting the Pentegon. The confusion of what was happening and what we should do was one of the scariest things I had ever been through. My first instinct was to go get Anthony, my oldest son, from school and hide somewhere because I am that person who panics and goes to the extreme. Instead, Ben took me to work, took the kids to my mom’s and went on about the day. The whole thing was surreal. At work I stood in front of the TV that hung by the bar and just watched the pictures of the towers falling and the people scrambling. The girls and I cried as we watched it all unfold and wondered why we were even open. People were there but it was so quiet. Not a sound except the TV giving us horrific story after horrific story.
Now, 14 years later. I’ve been to ground zero with my second husband and we shared a great moment bringinb in the new year with 6 NYPD officers on that trip. But where are we as people? We seem to be more divided that ever. It’s us vs them on all things. Our politicians use the fear we all had on this day 14 years ago to scare us more so we will vote for them and vote for things that give them more power and us less freedom. We have war breaking out everywhere and people fleeing with children in their arms to find safety. And we have people closing the door on them.
We are we 14 year later? Are we better human beings or are we more scared, more hateful, more separated and more self serving than ever? Has the evil from 14 years ago won? We have to ask ourselves that question.
Bin Laden is dead. But ISIS now lives. We have 14 years worth of soldiers and civilian contractors living with PTSD and depression from serving in a war that was supposed to end terrorism with the death of Bin Laden, and yet, the war still rages. His legacy of hatred still lives, even if he is dead.
I sit here and wonder: fourteen years later… Am I a better person. Do I remember what it was like to be an American, a human being, on a day when tragedy struck or did I let that day slowly kill the human in me by making me see others as enemies. Because that was the point of that attack. It was to take down this country physcologically with fear, anger and hatred. That is always the goal of evil. When I look around at how polarized we are as a country, how divided we are on every issue, and how angry we get when speaking to one another, I really do wonder if that goal was met.
I still can’t believe it. It’s been 14 years. The memory of that day is still clear. I want to hope that the memory of us being united as Americians and human beings is too.