Today we remember.
We remember where we were, what we were doing, how we talked to, and how we coped.
We remember what we lost and those who lost all.
We remember those who gave all to help others and those who first stood up to terrorism in Pennsylvania.
We also note what has changed. Never will we walk into an airport without remembering what has changed in our lives. The security that we roll our eyes at now, that we gripe and complain when we have to take our shoes off or not take liquids in.
We gave up some of our rights to feel safe, and many wonder now- did we do the right thing? It is my belief that we will never know the answer to that to satisfy everyone who asks.
On 9-11-2001, I did not cry. I was in 7th grade and didn’t know how this would change my life. I remember a teaching telling me that the attacks could not happen in the US and to return to my seat so we could get on with class when I asked him to turn on the TV to check the news.
When I try to explain to people how much I feel my life has changed only those who are in my age group seem to truly understand. It is hard to explain when the world changes when you are 12 how much you change with it. How much you accept other information or absorb it different than an adult. Yes planes crashed in to the World Trade Center (which , by the way- I didn’t know what they were or where they were), the Pentagon, and a field in PA- but I never thought that terrorism could happen in the US. I mean we had Pearl Harbor and the War for Independence- but those were so long ago.
Then came the question: why? Why did they do it? What did those people do to make those terrorists made? Why did (do) they hate America?
Then later came the more difficult answers: Because they hate what America stands for, and Americans because of their government. They wanted to make a statement. The people had done nothing. But these were hard to understand in 7th grade. Now I grasp that it is even more complicated than any of the answers provided to me back then.
I will never comprehend why it happened.
But I will never forget.
So that is why today I participated in a Memorial Walk sponsored by the US Embassy here in Skopje. Me- someone who actively would drive or take a bus to avoid walking. But this event was life changing.
The t-shirts had a logo on them that has a word I think sums up the American response and my personal feelings.
Something they can’t take away from us: