Friday, September 11, 2009
Emotions in the plant where I worked were pretty high that day and people left early to go home to be with their families. People suggested that we give blood, if for no other reason but to feel like you're making a difference. Being far away from the tragedy made us all feel like we had to do something, but none of us had any idea what to do. So many went to church to pray and fellowship. Still others found other methods of giving back and joined the military. I personally called the prior-service recruiter that I knew and asked what I had to do in order to get back in my beloved Corps and get back to blowing things up. Paperwork was drawn up and I was ready to go. Then I talked to my wife, who convinced me that it was time to let go, for the younger guys to do this and my responsibilities at home precluded any overseas service.
My daughter, who was five at the time, didn't really understand what was going on (for that matter most of the adults didn't either) but asked poignant questions: "Why would they kill people they don't know?", "Why do they hate America?", "Do you think there were any kids on those planes or in that building?".
It was tough to answer her without getting angry or choked up, knowing that her heart was breaking for those people. For a long time, my kids didn't like me travelling for work, for fear that someone would run the plane into a building again. I assured them every time that if anyone tried to run a plane into a building that I was on, it would be the worst decision they'd ever made.
But for a short time, we were all Americans. White, black, hispanic, gay, straight, woman, man, liberal, conservative...it didn't matter. We all felt the pang in our hearts and knew that we'd been attacked for our beliefs. Beliefs that made these murdering scumbags hate us. Freedom, individual liberties, and equality. Women allowed to work, be successful, make their own choices. Anyone of any religion can be successful, and have the freedom to make their own choices, not tied to the commands of a religious leader. These freaks didn't realize that no matter how many buildings they destroy, they'd never change that. We're America. We don't care about buildings. Knock one down, we'll build another one in its place, twice as big and just as bad-ass, because that's what we do. We just perservere, we just work, we just keep going. And we remember.