Today is a national day of service and reflection. This year, I thought about the effect of the events of 9/11 on the younger members of my family. To them, September 11, 2001 is a date in their history books. It is an important event, and a horrible tragedy, but it is something that happened a long time ago to people on the other side of the country. My oldest son was four years old, my second son was one, and my youngest two children were not even born. They have never traveled without the spectre of 9/11 and my oldest children have, but don’t remember it. I know that our losses will never be as devastating as those of the loved ones lost, injured and sickened, but the thought that my kids know nothing about friends and loved ones watching planes take off and waving from the windows of the airport (or of goodbye hugs at the boarding gate) saddens me.
It’s something how every year it seems my reflections are different upon this date. Some years it has been upon the way that our government handles, or does not handle the issues of its people in the aftermath of this tragedy. Some years I have thought about the families and friends left behind in the aftermath of this and other disasters in our country. This year, I feel bad because I remember how wrapped up in my own stuff I was and how I could have been a better friend to the people I know who were closely affected by the events of September 11, 2001.
My husband is Indian, but he has been subject to all kinds of shade at the airport because of his appearance. When I have traveled with him, we’ve had our luggage swabbed for explosives, we’ve had our luggage opened and searched and we’ve been patted down. This was before September 11. Therefore, I was really concerned about what our family would face in the aftermath.
I expressed these concerns to my friend, who had recently moved out of Manhattan and things just have not been the same between us since. I’m really sorry because she was a great friend and I should have been more sensitive. Fear is so awful that way. It makes people really selfish and sort of stupid. At least that has been the effect on me.
and I was on the other side of the country when it happened. Still am. I know it has been much harder for the people who lived in New York or were first responders or lost loved ones and friends in the towers. I still can’t completely describe how I felt when I saw it and I was watching it on television. What about the people who felt the ground shake or who heard and felt their windows break? Or the people who continue to give their lives because of their work at ground zero?