Friday, September 11, 2009

The Day I Learned What Patriotism Was...

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I was in eighth grade, and it was my first year of homeschooling. I was sitting at the dining room table, doing my history work when my Dad called us into the living room. He had just gotten a phone call from a friend telling him to switch the channel to CNN. He did, and the vision that filled the television screen was something that I will never, ever forget. I remember feeling like I was watching a movie. I had never seen anything like this before. My Parents had never seen anything like this.

An airplane, a real airplane had just flown right into the top of one of the twin towers. No one knew what was going on. Was it an accident? What had exactly happened? No one knew. As we were sitting there watching live view of the twin towers, here came yet another plane, crashing into the other tower. I remember watching that, and realizing that I had just seen that live. That wasn't part of the program, or a replay. I had just witnessed, with my own eyes, live, an airplane fly into one of the twin towers. At that point, we knew, everyone knew, that this was no accident. This was an attack.

I can safely say that I was in 8th grade when I, for the first time ever, actually feared for my life. I realized that there were other people in this world that hated us, Americans, the United States. I realized that there were other people in this world that wanted us dead, and they would go to any length to do so.

I remember watching the live feed of the World Trade Centers on fire. A large black mark wounded their sides. I remember watching what looked like pieces of paper falling from the tops of the towers, and then realizing that it was people lunging from the windows and falling to their deaths. I couldn't imagine how those people felt, and I wondered if I had been in their position if I would have done the same thing. Watching people fall from thousands of thousands of feet in the air, like rag dolls, broke my heart.

I remember when the towers began to collapse, and again, feeling like I was watching a movie. News reporters, witnesses, firefighters, police officers and others ran for their lives, trying to escape the debris and dust that could claim their lives. I remember the tears that came from my eyes, unwillingly, unknowingly. I didn't know any of these people, but they were my people. They were my fellow Americans, and some one had killed them. Someone foreign had killed them, had killed us. Someone foreign had changed the lives of every single American that day.

In some respects, I think we have forgotten that fateful day in September. I learned the meaning of Patriotism that day, as did many more Americans, but how easily we forget. We all came together in that day, and that week, that month and that year. But, as time has passed we have forgotten what it was like to be united. Our Country is divided, and we need to become united once again. Should it really take another tragedy like that of September 11, 2001 to bring us all together again?