As I look out of my hotel room window I see on the other side of the interstate a large American flag flying half-mast. The site brings back memories every time I see it, but nothing like it does today. Today as I look at the flag, a myriad of thoughts and images run through my mind, as they probably do yours. Do you remember where you were on that late summer day in September of 2001? Or did you actually remember that it was seven years ago today that this second Day of Infamy occurred?
Trying to think of my emotions as I walked into the dormitory, during my Freshman year in college, and saw a group of usually rowdy and irreverent students guys huddled around the television in silence. We all sat there stunned, and wondered what that meant for the rest of our lives. We knew something would change, but the question was WHAT!
Think about that day for you, did you hear the news in your car or at your desk, as your were getting ready for work, or as you sat in your classroom at school? Did you find out because of the gridlock around the break room TV set, or because of the gridlock on the highways and airports of Boston and New York? What did you do? Who did you hug? Did you cry, or were you just mad?
I was mad, I was also scared. I was scared at the potential of military service in my future (a fear that dissolved into resolve within hours, but was never needed) but also scared because for the first time in my life I lived in a city. I had only lived there for weeks, and was wishing for the comfort and security of rural Alabama again. Could my city be next. For many of us the emotions were the same, that is not to mention those of us who lost someone on that day, we were angry, we were scared, we wanted to do something about it.
As I look back on the last seven years I think about what has happened in America, what has changed. Many things are different, though not to the proportion that we envisioned that day.
We wait in line longer at airports (and pay more for our tickets at that), we have to have passports to go on cruises and to visit Canada, and Mexico, we have a color coded pattern we hear about describing the threat level, and we know of countries and governments that we barely knew existed 10 years ago. But despite the many changes things seem very similar today as they did 9/10/01.
In the last seven years I have lived all over the eastern part of the US, and traveled to even more of it; I have traveled and also lived in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Northern Africa. I have seen the world from a different perspective through these years. The threat of terrorist attacks have been real around me (and sometimes very close), and yet because of 9/11 I know that terrorist do not have to win.
9/11 a day of much death and destruction. But the fact that I can look out my window seven years later and still see an American Flag flying means that the terrorist did not win! In all that I think on today, I will thank God that the terrorist have not won!!