Monday, September 10, 2012

9/11 Day::I Will Remember

Tomorrow is 9/11 Day.  9/11 Day is hosted by the 9/11 Day Movement. They are an international non-profit organization that encourages communities to observe September 11 every year through charitable service and good deeds. They created this observance soon after 9/11 to provide a positive way to forever remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, honor those that rose in service in response to the attacks, and remind people of the importance of working more closely together in peace to improve our world. Today millions participate annually by taking time out on 9/11 to help others in need, in their own way.

Here are a few ways to get involved:

1.  On Tuesday, September 11, let your local police and fire departments know that you are thankful for their dedicated service to our communities.  You can write a note of thanks on their Facebook walls or send them a Tweet. 

2.  Send a thank you card or email to the service people you personally know in your life.

3.  Spend some time looking into charities and organizations doing great things - charities you've heard about but haven't made time to really research.  Connect with these organizations through Facebook or Twitter.  Look for opportunities to volunteer and become informed.  

Some of my favorites -

Mercy Project - freeing child slaves in Ghana.

Half the Sky - turning oppression into opportunity for women.

Apparent Project - keeping families together in Haiti by teaching a skill.  Their jewelry is beautiful.  I love every piece I own.

International Justice Missionsecuring rescue for victims of slavery & other violent forms of oppression.

The Fistula Foundation - raising awareness and funding for fistula treatment, prevention, and educational programs worldwide

Trade as One using fair trade to promote sustainable business and break cycles of poverty and dependency in the developing world.

The Batik Boutique - transforming the lives of women in Malaysia through job training.

4.  Keep up with tomorrow's events at the 9/11 Day Facebook page.

5.  Share your story.  Let’s remember together.  What do you remember about 9/11?  Where were you?  Did that day change you in some way?  I'll share my story - right after John Krasinski.  (I miss The Office).

I was pregnant with Hayden. I had finally quit dating the toilet and remembered my vow after Anson was born to do the next pregnancy differently.  There I stood - in our living room huffing my way through a stair step aerobic video. Two year old Anson was busy playing in his room.  During my first pregnancy, I never worked out and gained about 50 pounds. I ate a steady diet of anything I wanted and barely moved around. It's possible that I consumed about 3,000 calories a day and burned 3.8.  The impressive weight gain should surprise no one. With Hayden I was determined to eat healthy and exercise regularly. While I was in the middle of the workout, the phone started ringing. I ignored it. A couple minutes later, it began to ring again. I looked at the caller ID on the cordless phone. It was my mother. I decided she could wait until the video was over. My two year old was actually happy – content – playing really well. I wanted to finish the workout during this small window of opportunity.

The phone would not stop ringing.

Eventually I answered with an annoyed, “Mom! What?”

It took me several minutes to understand exactly what my mom was saying. “We're under attack.  Turn on the TV. Where is Aaron? Is he home?” While I was desperately trying to turn off the workout video and find a news station (I SUCK at all things electronic, so you have no idea how long this little switch-a-roo took me) my mom hysterically attempted to catch me up. I was glad she called.  Since ejecting my first human being from my body, I hadn't watched much grown up television. Unless Blues Clues decided to scroll the news at the bottom of the screen, I could have gone all day without knowing what had happened in New York.  I got off the phone with my mom and stood staring at the television for the longest time. At that point other reports of planes – in more cities – began to circulate. Aaron was near downtown Houston at seminary. I called him. Frantic. He had heard the news. His campus was in the process of determining whether or not to cancel class for the remainder of the day. I begged him to come home. I was surprised how scared I was that something awful would happen in downtown Houston.

I spent the rest of the day glued to the television. It was one of the first times I remember my heart breaking – tears streaming down my face – for people I did not know. I was a hormonal mess, but this was more than hormones.  This was a connection to the human race that I don't think I had ever been old enough to experience during a national tragedy. Other than a human bond, I had no real connection to the horrified faces on my television screen. I didn’t know the people who jumped out of the towers that day. I had never met the parents grieving for their missing children, yet it did not matter if I knew them. I was overcome with emotion for the survivors and the victims.

In the days that followed, I was moved by all the stories of love, care, and sacrifice. As terrible and terrifying as the events of September 11 were, as a young 20 something, I was moved by the strength and selflessness of human beings. For a brief moment, we simply came together. We loved deeply. We were compassionate.  We grieved with strangers. I sobbed with mothers over the death of their babies and for families as they buried a parent - their homes changed forever.  We set aside petty differences and united as one people. This was the first of many moments in my life when I witnessed the ability of tragedy to bring out the very best and the very worst in people - and tragedy's power to bring out the very best and worst in me.  In the aftermath, I remember the friction I felt about racial profiling, and the sadness surrounding the way American Muslims (or anyone who looked "Muslim") were treated (and probably are still treated).  Fear reigning - dancing wildly and ferociously through our nation, communities, the media, and my own heart.  I will always remember my first flight after 9/11 - watching an "Arabic-looking" man walk down the aisle - feeling simultaneously afraid and disgusted with myself. These feelings were new.  They made me sick, but I didn't know what to do with them.  Yet I also remember late night conversations with friends - each admitting our fear - the shame we felt - hating our racism, discrimination, and judgement.  Wanting love - not fear to lead the way.  Desiring good to grow in us and around us as a result of these disturbing events.  9-11.  It was tragic and yet beautiful.  I will never forget.

It's your turn.  Where were you?  How were you changed?

P.S. On a steady diet of salad and diligently exercising, I still managed to gain 50 pounds with the second baby. Wrong.  Wrong on so many levels.

9/11 in photos from The Boston Globe


jessi Glauser said...

erI was 14.I was waking up the day and my mum called me into the lounge room.We just sat there staring at the buildings with smoke coming from them.I remember being in tears and imagining how these people felt.Then I sat there trying to think how I would feel watching this and knowing I had family in that building,or my loved one was on a plane etc.I went to school like normal,and sitting on the stairs outside near the oval talking with friends we seen planes take off.The defence force here in Australia was beginning to secure the airways.Tat one event has turned the entire worlds view on many things around.Still to this day I can not find the words to get out how I felt,how I still feel and how I feel when I talk to my children about it.

beth lehman said...

we had just moved to a new town, my sister and her little twins had come for the weekend. between us we had three girls that had just turned one.

we heard something on npr and brushed it off. "a plane" had hit one of the buildings. we were starting to figure out that something wasn't right about the time my sister and her family needed to get on the road.

the cable man came, and by then i had been listening nonstop to the radio. after he hooked up our basic cable, he sat and watched with me for more than an hour.

lots of phone calls were made all day long, to friends, to family, to my husband, who had started graduate school. i was glued to the television when i wasn't holding my baby or talking on the phone.

the plane that went down in PA, went down about 1/2 hour from where my in-laws would retire, to the family farm.

now we pass the site several times each year.

in the years that pass, my kids are not 12 an 9 and they have asked us all kinds of questions about the day. we've told them about it more than once.

it's one of those moments for all americans who will know where they were and what was happening in their lives the moment they heard the news.

Anonymous said...

My husband was in the Navy and we were stationed in VA. I was pregnant again, with our first born, after having 2 miscarriages. When I got to work that day our boss had brought his television to to the office so we could all watch and keep up. We actually watched the second plane hit live. I automatically wanted to puke, not knowing what this would mean for my husband. Shortly after, he showed up to my job to tell me his ship was leaving. Couldn't tell me where or when it would come back. I followed him home so we could talk. All I can say is God is ever present in those moments. The peace that could only come from Him is priceless and would with out Him it would be UNBEARABLE and hopeless! His ship left and came back two weeks later and the whole time I had no contact with him. Shortly after that his ship deployed to Iraq. God allowed us to keep that baby and she is now 10. We also have a 6 year old and one on the way through adoption.
Never forget to pray for the men and women who serve in the military and their families who sacrifice so much to protect our country.

Denise said...

Great post. I particularly like that you lead with what we can all do now, to make a difference. Thank you for this.

Aaron said...

I was on my way to seminary with a couple of other guys.
Each week I bought a newspaper from a homeless looking man who sold them in the street near HBU, where classes were being held. Every time I pulled up to the intersection, that old man would come tap on my window and proceed to tell me a whole series of over-the-top, fictitious news stories that "I would only find in HIS newspaper."
On that particular Tuesday morning I pulled to the red light, rolled down my window, and held out a dollar. The old man hurried to my car and proceeded to tell me about a plane that had crashed into a skyscraper in New York. I just assumed this was another of his fanciful news stories. I thanked him for the paper and started to roll up my window. He could obviously tell that I didn't believe him because he told me to turn on the radio and see for myself.
The light turned green and we made the left turn and headed to school. After a few jokes about the crazy newspaper guy, we decided to turn on the radio. News of the first crash was on every station.
We pulled up to HBU and went to the student center where dozens of students were gathered around the big TV showing images of the first crash. We stood in silence with a bunch of other students watching the story unfold.
After about 5 minutes I went to check to see if we were actually having class. To my surprise, the professor was in his place, already lecturing to the students who, I assume, were completely unaware of what was happening.
I decided to skip class and return to the student center. Just as I returned the news showed the second plane crashing into the other tower.
I don't remember if I called Heather or if she called me, but she made it clear that she wanted me to get out of Houston and come home.
I talked to the guys who had ridden with me and we agreed that school wasn't where any of us wanted to be. We loaded up and headed back to College Station. We heard the news of the collapse of each tower on the radio as we drove home.
At home, we sat with the rest of America and saw images and heard stories broadcast around the world that will forever be associated with September 11.

Janessa said...

I was in my freshmen biology course dissecting a mouse at Georgetown in Washington DC when they told us. We all went up to the roof and saw smoke from the Pentagon. After class was canceled we hundled in a small lounge in the Med school with dozens of other people watching the towers fall and the aftermath. It was an eery day walking around campus with airforce jets overhead.