Had another post set to publish today, but I’ll save it for tomorrow. Tonight, I’m trying to process things.
On September 11th, 2001 I was in Senora Baldwin’s Spanish 3 class. It was 2nd period and we were discussing ser vs estar and making jokes. Just before the bell rang, Mr. Smith got on the intercom and told us there had been a bombing at the Pentagon and more information would be forthcoming. Then we heard about the towers, and people rushed to the office to call home to inquire about loved ones. Most of us didn’t have cell phones then. After the 15 minute mid-morning break I headed to American History – Mrs. Lewis’s class – and we watched the replays of the planes hitting the towers on the news. My classmates Jeremy and Liza stood near the tv, holding each other, and I knew the world had changed and I’d never forget that small moment of beauty in the midst of all the pain.
Tonight, after I’d just finished dinner and we were preparing to put the kids to bed, my friend Debbie asked me if I was watching the news. The president was about to make an announcement about national security, she said. I flipped the TV to CNN, where all Wolf Blitzer knew was that the announcement wasn’t about Libya. Maybe Osama Bin Laden is dead, I speculated to Debbie and my brother, whom I’d called and instructed to turn on the TV. Then I got on Twitter and saw that indeed, Bin Laden was dead and his body was in US custody. I spent the next hour reading tweets, some funny, some poignant, and watching the news, waiting for President Obama to speak. I was connected to the world in a way that was unimaginable a decade ago.
The excitement was contagious. I think that it was a massive surge of adrenaline or release of a decade of tension, not over the death of a man, though I suppose that was part of it, but also over the closing of a chapter in our history. Our way of lives changed forever that day almost 10 years ago, and now the man responsible for that is dead.
Is it wrong to celebrate the death of an evil man? Was that really what was happening tonight? Is the world a safer place now? Will there be retaliation? Does it bring us closure as a country, for 9/11? What happens next?
I think that some of these are questions that we as a nation are going to be grappling with for awhile.
This is what I do know though. I know that I’m grateful for those troops who go where they’re ordered and sacrifice so much. I’m grateful for their families and the sacrifices they make. I pray we can bring our troops home soon. I pray that our country can rise above the hate and fear and show love. I pray for peace.