9/11 Memorial, NYC, Uncategorized

My JFK Day

As I was about to turn off my radio to head to school the host starts laughing and says; “get this, some idiot ran their plane into the World Trade Center in New York City. Buddy, those are pretty big and hard to miss {chuckling with co-host}. . . . . . . oh wait, we just heard this is quite serious, we will keep you updated as we know more.” The time was 6:55AM in Utah (8:55AM in NYC).

Every T.V. in our cafeteria was on, every student was silent. They were replaying the second tower getting hit over and over. It wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. The T.V. stayed on in my first period class for about 10min before my math teacher decided there was no reason to watch anymore. We argued then proceeded to ignore everything math related until a science teacher came by to tell us that the Pentagon was just hit and nobody was teaching.

My generation had just encountered it’s JFK day.

Sept 11 Mem

Walking down the stairs I feel a breeze rush past me. “Just get out and run”. Some pillars still stand, adorned with patches and pictures, memories and an unmistakable pain and burden. Videos are on, surrounding you, calling out all the details over and over. You want to move on but you can’t, but there is more so you do. Going deeper the blood starts flowing faster, harder. Whispers, echos, penetrating and yet emanating from everywhere. A quilt with words of encouragement from an elementary school in Colorado lines one wall. Behind, the whispers become louder. Closer, louder. A mother, a brother, a son, a sister. They all have something to say. A memory, a message. Every face, all 2,977 of them smile down on you. You want to smile back, but it hurts so much.

Deeper still, reaching past the heart and into the soul. But there is one corner that seems it should be reserved for Hades. It’s dark, it’s filled with doom. It is the worst thing you have ever witnessed. ‘Turn away, it’s not right to look’, you tell yourself out of respect, but you can’t. They stand outside windows, waving t-shirts of white, searching for a savior that will never come – and so they jump. They fall, they plummet, they know what’s coming. But it’s only their bodies going to meet Hades at Styx, because the moment they took that last step their soul ascended, free from the smoke and pain and fear.

The details are endless. You could go through 100 times and still see something new – and each time will not be easier, but harder. They tell you to give yourself 90minutes to go through. But how can you only give this 90 minutes of your time? It will take days. It will take reading every little detail, it will take telling everyone around you to go see it.

Eventually I will be bringing my own children here. They will probably come home from school one day, asking what I remember about that day. It will strike me how strange it is that they don’t know. How could they not know? Then, while I tell my children everything, I will pray that they never have to experience anything like this. Yet in my heart I think I know this isn’t true. For every generation seems to have their day in their history that shakes their world, so I will just hope that they can take it all in and remember it all like I have. We can build a memorial and a museum, make documentaries and docu-drama movies to be passed down through the generations, but it is up to the individual to hold those memories in their heart. To never forget but always remember without the aid of a memorial.

The true memorial should always reside in your heart.

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NYC, Uncategorized

Finding the Words

The Statue of Liberty stands tall and proud, welcoming all who want to live here but warning them that living here doesn’t come without hard work. She is the gateway to America and she is not to be messed with. This, along with the pride of a city, was on full display Monday, November 11 – Veterans Day. Bugle’s bopped and drum-rolls rat-a-tated and dress uniforms were on full display. You could feel it in the air, a pride that was infectious to all. We could all stand tall today.

9:11 spectators

All weekend I thought about what I could, what I should say. Veterans Day came, with a parade down 5th Avenue and people in uniform everywhere I looked, I figured that I would surely get inspiration. Nothing came.

Then it dawned on me. There are thousands of things I could say to show how I feel, on how proud I am of people like my grandfathers and my father. Then again, no matter how many words I said or how many hearts I may reach, I could never say enough.

WWII Names

Growing up I loved looking at all of the Navy memorabilia from my father. His pilot helmet often adorned my brother and my heads, and we loved freaking out our friends with his ‘live’ ammunition of bullets. One of my grandfathers served in WWII, the other in Korea and I wish they had told us more stories. I have been to military Balls with friends in college, dressed up in my dad’s flight suit for halloween and told my dad I would be the first female Blue Angel (pretty sure that duty was fulfilled by the time I was 13, but hey, a girl can dream). While I never chose to join the military myself (although to this day I still wonder ‘what if’) I honor and love every single person who chooses to serve in any way, shape or form. Anytime I see someone in uniform I just want to run up and give them a big hug. I want to thank them and sit and hear their stories.

WWII Memorial

I’m pretty sure randomly giving people in uniform a big hug is not socially allowed and would probably get me in trouble (or physically injured) somewhere down the line, but that’s how I feel. But that’s what I want to do. I want to show them all how grateful I am for their sacrifice, their service. And while I may not always agree with the places they go to fight, I always support them. In my mind a mandatory service in the military, like many other countries require, seems as necessary to me as does a job in the service industry. They are both service, one is just putting up with the ignorant, annoying person you are serving food to while the other is serving the people who call this place home yet would only defend it through a video game. Yes, I understand that I have never served, but let me say again that if told that one person from each family needed to go I would in a heartbeat. And you are welcome to comment, ‘well then stop talking about it and go now’, but I am at a new phase of my life where that just can’t happen.

I love the military. I love the order, the tradition, the history. I love the Navy a bit more than the rest, but that’s because my father, a former Navy Fighter Pilot, made sure I had the bias. I know the songs. I can play them all on my clarinet (nerd, yes). But most of all I love the people in each of those branches. I love that their heart and their conscience was strong enough to go there. I love that they will literally do ANYTHING to protect this country and all who inhabit it, no matter the cost.

9:11 Flags

I could go on and on about my love and respect for my veterans, but I will never say enough to convey my feelings and gratitude to a level I feel they should be. So please, let me just end with

I Love You. Thank You.

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