Ten years ago, I was living in Washington, DC. I had moved there about 15 months earlier for my first job after college. It was big adventure away from my family. And it was definitely an adventure. Two years ago I wrote up my memories of 9/11. You can read it here.
But thinking back on it now, there are a few words that come to my mind. Confusion. Shock. Community. Confusion because in those first hours, we didn't know what was happening. Rumors spread like wildfire, even in those days without Twitter. Most of those rumors ended up not being true, but it didn't matter then. I looked out my office window and saw the smoke from the Pentagon. I walked home that day (and every day) down a street that ended at the White House only a mile away. And it was a real possibility that another plane was heading right there.
Shock doesn't need much explanation. I was not the only one who found themselves glued to the TV that day, hoping for some explanation.
I remember the sense of community that came after. On 9/12, several co-workers and I went to the Red Cross to give blood. Except we were turned away after a few hours b/c the line was still long with all the outpouring of people who wanted to do something, anything, to help. In the weeks and months after 9/11, we were a united country. There was no talk of red America and blue America. Or "real" America and other places that I guess are not real America. There was, just simply, America. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
What can we do to get that back?
5 days ago