Ten years?!? My life is so different now. The world is different. There was before, and this is after.
I remember being afraid that the Silicon Valley was next. I remember crying at work the whole day, listening to radio coverage. I had turned on the TV before commuting to work, something I never did. I watched coverage as the 2nd plane hit the tower. No one knew what was happening. So I went to work. And listened to Greg Kihn on 98.5 KOME. And wept. How could 4 planes be anything but connected. This was planned. This was intentional.
I did not understand how people could be so angry, or cruel. I did understand how jumping could seem like the better alternative than waiting to die 100 stories in the air. I didn’t realize that this would throw our country into a war that continues to this day.
I wanted to arrange a blood donation party for my upcoming birthday. The Red Cross didn’t call me back. They weren’t finding survivors to donate blood to.
I remember being overwhelmed by the number of stories and the ways people survived, or didn’t survive. The loss, the days and weeks of not knowing for sure. Constant news coverage of families searching for their loved ones, or footage of airplane vs. skyscraper. Horrifying. Large-scale violent destruction and loss. And as the days passed it became clear, there were no survivors.
Since that day, I have gotten married, given birth, changed jobs twice, moved four times, and left behind my home state for a new one. I have grown from a 22-year-old to a 32-year-old, from a college dropout to a working mom and wife. So much life has happened in the last 10 years.
What have we learned since that day? Sometimes I feel like we have learned nothing. The bottom line is more important than ever. We live in a police state. The government is owned by corporate persons. Feeding all children is not as important as making sure they are all thin. Teaching children is not as important as monitoring their school lunches.
I have learned that suffering on a mass scale happens every day, all over the world. 9/11 happened here, and it changed the world. Today, millions are starving to death in Ethiopia, and it barely ranks on the news. Looking back at our loss will hopefully inspire us to look forward, to see what is happening right now that we need to help with. To recognize our interconnectedness, our interdependence. To respect all human life. But, sadly, as these last 10 years have shown, those in power do not view all human life as equally valuable, or worth protecting.