It's hard to believe that 10 years have passed since that beautiful Tuesday morning in 2001 that changed our country. That day and the subsequent anniversaries have had great effect on me despite the fact that I did not lose anyone directly related to me and was not physically near any of the sites. I guess I am like many other young Americans who had not seen anything like this before. Not that anyone had seen anything like this before but older Americans had gone through Vietnam, JFK, Korea, etc. For Americans my age, the Gulf War had seemed so far away and foreign with its glowing green nightvision bombs and names of countries we hadn't learned about yet in fourth grade geography. September 11th was different. It happened live, on TV, in color, right there while we were watching.
I remember coming out of conducting class and hearing parts of conversations in the Music Building lounge about some plane hitting a building in NYC. Katie and I went upstairs to the band hallway and heard the news spilling from computer speakers in the graduate assistants' office.
No one quite knew what to do...should we go watch TV? should we go to class? We went to class. I don't think I will ever forget sitting in the band room for Brantley's Music Ed class and everyone just sitting in stunned silence. He asked if we wanted to talk about it and a fellow student, a New York native, just said, "Why?" I can't remember if anyone actually said anything else or how long we stayed in class before we all left to gather around TVs in lounges across campus.
It seemed like all I did for days was watch the news, the same video clips, the same sad stories over and over again. Suddenly planes flying overhead weren't just unnoticed pieces of scenery, they were reminders of what had happened.
That Thanksgiving the Marching Royal Dukes marched in the Macy's Parade. My group of friends went to Ground Zero. Even though we were standing RIGHT THERE looking at the ruins, it didn't seem real. How in the world could those two great towers fall? How could so many innocent people just die like that? And for what?
Each year around this time I've gotten sucked into watch the specials, the documentaries and all of the coverage. And each year it fills me with the same nausea and sadness.
This year I have made an effort to avoid the coverage and instead focus on the "good" things that came from this tragedy....Americans coming together, showing patriotism for their country and the building of hope for the future.
And in that spirit I have two things to share:
A friend posted this video yesterday. These kids are from a public school in NYC. I have followed them for a while now and thought this video was perfect for this post being that they are from NY and singing about NY.
Each year around this time I make it a point to either read or watch the monologue that Jon Stewart gave on the first Daily Show episode after September 11th.
If you don't want to watch the whole thing, here is the ending, which is my favorite part:
"The view from my apartment was the World Trade Center. Now it's gone. They attacked it. This symbol of American ingenuity and strength and labor and imagination and commerce and it is gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can't beat that."