By this time 14 years ago, the eyes of the entire world were focused on the United States of America. As I type right now, I am overcome with the same surreal feeling that captured me that day back in 2001. I had been rushing around trying to get Will ready for school and myself ready for work. My last task that morning before running downstairs and out the door was to bend down and double-tie Will’s shoes. He was transfixed on the developing activity on TV and said, “Mama, look at that airplane sticking out of that building.” My response was, “Baby, it’s an accident.” Not for one minute did I believe there was enough evil in this world that something of this nature could happen purposely. I was wrong. I was so very wrong. I will never forget. None of us ever will.
I was working out in Centennial, and by the time I made it to I-225 and Arapahoe, every single person around me in their cars had the same surreal look. As everyone knows, my sister was military, so my co-workers urged me to call her to find out what was going on. That day, I saw her in her full military stance. I had never heard my sister cuss in all my years on earth, but the last thing she said to me that day was, “We don’t know who is doing this, but when we find out, we’re gonna blow them the f**k off the map!” I had her on speaker because my bosses and co-workers were in the same mental state – we wanted to know what the heck was going on and when it would stop. After the call disconnected, we all just stood there, in shock. I remember sitting outside with my co-worker later that morning and noticing that there was not a plane in the sky. We all lost our innocence that day and our trust in man.
In the weeks that followed, out of all that tragedy and chaos, what became apparent was that this country could unite as a whole. We became a united front as Americans. Not Black, White, Asian, Indian, etc. – we were whole as a united front. To look at us today, you have to wonder why we let ourselves fall into such division with the racism, social classing, and straight-out hatred. It’s tiring. It’s trying. We need to do better.
They knocked us to our knees but they didn’t put us on our backs. This country is all of ours – all of ours! Tragedy shouldn’t be what binds us as a people. I’m not calling for a giant hug-filled love-fest, but how incredible would it be just to have basic respect for the differences we all possess? It’s not that hard.