Today is September 11, 2011 and it’s the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. Now, I won’t deny it, I’m a conspiracy theorist when it comes to what exactly happened that day – I’ve seen images of the Pentagon before the outer wall collapsed, I don’t think a plane (especially something as large as a 757) caused the damage to the Pentagon. Do not misunderstand – I’m not claiming our own government shot the Pentagon; I just don’t know what happened. I also am not saying that our government was involved actively (though I can believe that they didn’t do all they should have to prevent it from happening); and mostly, I KNOW that a plane struck the second tower because I watched it live. I just don’t think a plane hit the Pentagon.
That said, where was I ten years ago? Ten years ago, I was 16 and a junior in high school – not popular, but well liked and enjoying my time in high school. I was fairly carefree and on the morning of September 11, 2001, I was grouchy because rather than hanging out with my friends at break, I had to go to my advisor/advisees meeting with Mrs. Polly Arnold – a woman who had become my hero years before when I was attacked by her son, but that’s another story. So, I was taking my time after second period walking into the main building of Forrest County Agricultural High School and Mrs. Arnold was standing in the hall keeping watch of students and hustling me and a couple of others from my a/a group into the classroom when our principal approached her. I walked through the door as he told her, “turn on the news, a plane has hit the World Trade Center.” So Steven Pahlman – a guy I’ve known since I was 5 – turned on the tv (Mrs. Arnold never could reach it on her own) and switched it to the news channel, though I can’t remember which one. There it was, the first tower smoking and a voice telling us that a plane had flown into it. As they were talking, before the commentator even realized it, I saw the second plane. I remember saying “oh my god, there’s another plane,” moments before we all watched in horror as it struck the second tower.
We stayed longer in a/a than just break. I remember crying with people I’d known most of my life – several of whom I wouldn’t have spared the time of day and likely still wouldn’t – and I remember wanting to talk to my Momma. Mrs. Arnold let us use our cell phones – and I let my friend, Kade use mine since he didn’t have one – so we could call our families. I prayed the God and Goddess be with those who had lost their lives and to be with us all. All day there was talk of what the next target would be. There was talk of attacks on major bases and military training facilities, and that brought the fear much closer to home. One of the US’s largest joint forces training facilities was Camp Shelby – located less than two miles from my parents home and less than ten from my high school. I grew up running nearly wild at Shelby because my dad was a carpenter there. While most people had to always have id to get on base, because my dad worked right inside south gate and was so well-known, when Momma and I needed to take him something at work, we just waved to the guard as he let us through (though, granted, that was mostly in the late 80s and early 90s). Suddenly, the road that runs parallel to Shelby (a public, residential road) had guards stationed along its length because it was literally yards away from the base.
What began ten years ago today was a war that I don’t support, that sent dozens of my friends and, now, family overseas to fight what has become the longest war in US history. And because of my love of those friends and others in uniform, I’ve become further disgusted with this war by every passing year. I have friends who weren’t yet old enough to drink coming back from war changed – and not for the better. And now, my brother-in-law, a man who I adore, is currently in Kuwait before being transferred to Afghanistan some time around the first of the year. This is his second tour of duty and he’s not yet 25 (end of the month). Let me say this clear – I HATE this war. But I have, do, and always will support our men and women in uniform for their willingness to do what they can for our country. I do not blame our troops for the war and most of my anger about the war is on their behalf – whether they agree with me or not.
So today I will remember everything that happened, all the people who lost their lives and their loved ones – those who died in the attacks and those who died after trying to save lives. I will remember our troops, all of whom have given a piece of themselves to this war – in the words of Billy Ray Cyrus, “All gave some/Some gave all”. Today, I will light my incense and maybe a candle for my brother-in-law, David and pray that he comes home safe.
Always I wish you brightest blessings. Today I wish those – and I suggest you do as well – on the victims, our troops, and their families.