Reflection from a very tired woman about a very important thing

Sometimes the Oklahoma City bombing seems like it happened so long ago. It was a long time ago in my life. I wasn't quite 10. I was already married and living in Oklahoma when the 10th anniversary came. I watched the service in the living room of our apartment, just 3 miles from the actual site of the bombing. At the completion of the service, a bagpiper led the families of the victims and former president and first lady, Bill and Hillary Clinton, from the church across the street to the site of the memorial. The bagpiper slipped and fell on the steps. The camera crews looked elsewhere as he got up, and when they showed him again, playing his tune, I cried. Ten years. So many lives affected. A city completely transformed.

9/11 seems like it could have happened yesterday. I was a junior in high school. One of my best friends had been killed in a car accident less than a month before, my grandpa had passed away in January of that year. I don't really know what ten years feels like, but if I had to guess, it's something like the distance I've placed between the two latter events. There are times when they are still painful, when I miss them so much my emotions overcome me, but the constant sting of loss has dulled. The same kind of distance cannot be placed for the way our world was changed 10 years ago. We are reminded of the atrocities carried out by human beings against human beings almost daily in the new way we our securities must be guarded. In the wars being fought against terrorism. In the acts of terrorism that occur around the world.

I rode passed the OKC Memorial today on the scooter.I thought about both days, April 19, 1995 and September 11, 2011, and how different the passage of 10 years felt between them.

I guess I don't really know what to say. What happened was unfathomable, and trying to imagine a world where 9/11/2001 was just an ordinary day is impossible too. What if everyone would have gone to work, made it home, and to their destination without incident? Not only would the victims and their families not know what it's like to hold that title, but there wouldn't be victims of the aftermath either - no casualties of war, no children left without a parent because of the ongoing fight against terrorism. There was a finality to the bombing in Oklahoma City. It was local, the perpetrators were caught, put on trial and punished accordingly. 9/11 left the world with an impossible task. The only thing that is possible, in my control, is to remember.

So today, just like everyone else, I am remembering, but I think memory inspiring an action would be even better. In a message, President Obama said:

"With just a small act of service, or a simple act of kindness towards others, you can both honor those we lost and those who serve us still, and help us recapture the spirit of generosity and compassion that followed 9/11."

I still feel anxiety creep in when I see a plane and a building in the same field of sight. I still remember seeing the first plane in the sky leaving from Sky Harbor in Phoenix after planes were allowed to fly again. I was on the band bus on the way to a football game. The bus driver told everyone to look out the window, that we were witnessing something historic. It made something inside feel normal again. For the record, I still feel weary of yellow moving trucks, too. But I can't lose hope that with all of the bad stuff that happens at the hands of a few, there are always so many more who would do something good, and that all of those good things can have the same type of everlasting impact. I guess my resolve is one I've made over and over: I'm going to try to be a little bit better.

1 comment:

  1. You have a way with words even when you are. " very tired". How my dear, do you do that? : )

    This was very moving and gave me things to think about today.



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