By Lee Waites
I was driving to a job when one of my employees called me and told me what was happening. It was such an absurd notion at the time I remember giggling, thinking he was joking. He convinced me to turn on the radio. When I got to my customer's house she was watching it on television. I remember mumbling, "Oh, this is gonna change things." She stared at me. It's impossible for me to interpret, or translate that stare.
At the time I remember thinking very rationally, about the earlier attempt to bring down the Towers under Bill Clinton, the failed basement bomb. I remember thinking about the big picture, what our military and covert responses would be, what would happen to our economy. I remember thinking we would surely wind up losing some more of our rights as a result of the attacks.
Then my thoughts began to wander. What had we done to bring the attention of such hatred? What was actually coming next? Would there be more explosions?
After I got home and sat down to watch the planes fly into the tower, again and again, I realized I and my family were safe for the moment. Who knew at the time? I began to cry. I thought about all the families of the people, the phone calls, the dead, the lost, the not knowing.
We can argue, bicker and debate. We can care, forget, plan and react. We can imagine the pain, remember the loss.There are a million different ways and things to think about the events on that day. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who lost lives on, or because of, that day. I especially feel for the young children who lost a parent. I cannot think about it very hard.
Things did change after all. Of course. Reactions we had always criticized other countries for became common place. We failed somewhat, but only somewhat. The game isn't over yet.
I know if we change, lose our rights because of 9/11, or lose the vision of our Founders, we have lost the fight. If we honor the loss of those lives, call them patriots, then we must honor the ideal of freedom.
I know there are tragedies all over, all the time. This one is ours. Own it. Whoever you are. Speak your mind. I try to be open to more than my own response. I would not presume to tell you how to feel. Wave a flag if you want. Cry. I personally recommend you be decent to your fellow humans.
I also know there will always be more dead than living, one day to include all of us. They stack up behind this point in time like an ever increasing wave of what has been, that will eventually wash away everyone. As the crashing approaches closer to my person, it's a blessing to assume the dead no longer care.