Last week was a tough one. We all have them. Sometimes it’s mental, sometimes it’s physical, for me it was really both.
I have chronic neck pain that I keep in check by seeing my Chiropractor at Dr. Lawyer at Tri Villiage Chiropractic regularly. However with Ryan finishing school and starting a new job we currently have a gap in our health insurance. I stocked up on my meds before we lost our student health insurance, and even had an adjustment. Unfortunately you can’t really stock up on adjustments. So when I pinched a nerve and all my muscles seized up two weekends ago, there wasn’t much I could do but ice, take anti-inflammatories, and rest. So that’s what I did all of last week. By Friday I was feeling pretty well. Not 100% but able to get out and about.
Of course before Friday I knew what was coming. The anniversary of September 11, 2001. For years I couldn’t even talk about the day. It happened as I was beginning my second year of college, shaping my beliefs, ideologies, and feelings of adulthood. Now I can do the memorials, read about victims and survivors, view pictures of the first responders, and of people fleeing in NY. What I can’t handle is the awful pictures of the towers burning. I don’t need a picture, I remember it quite clearly. And I’m pretty sure I always will.
I’m not sure what people think they will accomplish showing pictures of that awful day that they can’t accomplish by showing the towers standing as they were, or pictures of the aftermath. Basically what they are doing by sharing these photographs again and again, year after year, is posting pictures of thousands of people dying. I was one of the lucky ones, no one I knew died that day, no one I was even close to lost someone. But there are 100,000s of people who did. I can’t imagine what that must feel like.
I remember how blue the sky was that day, that is always the first thing on my mind. Then I remember hearing about the first plane, after leaving Greek class and heading back to my dorm. A friend was crying, her brother was in the Air Force. I didn’t understand. As I got back to my room and turned on my little blue television I then understood. This wasn’t an aviation accident, this was a deliberate act that many would not survive. Not long after I turned the TV on the second plane crashed.
I didn’t scream, I didn’t cry, I just stood there, not even sitting down to watch the day unfold. Maria, our residence hall cleaning lady stood in the doorway to watch with me. Most people in my hall were in class, it was eerily quite. I must have been in some kind of shock, because after the towers fell, I called my mom to tell her I loved her, and then I took a nap.
The days that followed were much of the same, numb, confused, maybe angry, I’m not even sure. A bright point was that night answering the phone to hear my roommates dad had made it out of the city and was on his way home to New Jersey. To see the look of relief on her face when I found her in the campus center was just something I couldn’t imagine. After she talked to him on the phone again that evening, not only did he make it home, but brought someone who had no where to go home with him.
And that’s another light in the darkness through this whole thing. As a country we banded together, we prayed, we helped each other out. For the most part race, income, neighborhood didn’t matter. There were a few misguided people acting out in anti-Muslim rage, but for once we were acting as one Nation.
Looking back now and thinking how devastating of a time that was, and looking at our country today, I don’t understand how we became so angry with one another. I mean, I do understand. Deep rooted racism can’t be erased with one day. And poverty can’t be wiped out by patriotism. Not to mention the wars we’ve been fighting, and the good people who are being lost without much thought by the rest of the country. People are dying all over the world, and for the most part those in the United States are just trying to yell the loudest.
So, this is the first time I’ve ever really talked about 9/11 and I’m not sure I will do it again any time soon. But it’s been on my mind and in my heart. Not saying something is being part of the anger that is plaguing our nation, and I’m trying so hard to let go of my anger these days.
I give what I can, when I can to those in need. I attempt to participate in constructive conversations about race, poverty, and politics. I pray. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. But I’m still learning. I’m still struggling.
But I still have hope. If you look around the world, at how other people are living (and dying) you will realize this is a pretty great country to live in. We have our problems, and not everything is perfect, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.