Honestly, we really do hate being out of the spotlight for more than five minutes, but if we could have brought the attention back to ourselves in ANY way, this was quite possibly the most exciting and satisfying way possible. I have not been this proud to be an American in a long time.
September 11, 2001 and the day John Lennon died (December 8, 1980... fun fact... I did not google that) have something in common: everyone remembers where they were when they heard it happened. For example: when John Lennon died I was floating around in the no man's land where unborn babies live, and I STILL cried. That guy was a frickin' genius. On September 11, 2001, I was driving to school when I heard the news. The rest of the day was spent watching teachers cry and two buildings in New York burn and collapse on television. I didn't really get it because I was nine years old. I know my parents attempted to explain the tragedy our country had just endured, but my undeveloped child brain just could not comprehend it. It was not until last March when I visited New York personally that I could say I truly understood the magnanimity of this attack on not only the people of New York, but myself.
It was an absolutely horrible, rainy, cold New York day that makes you wish you were curled up in bed watching a movie with a cup of cocoa. Instead, you are walking around literally all of New York, wet to the bone and swearing the fact that your parents said, "Yes honey, you can go to New York City for Spring Break."
Our tour guide finally got my group into the business district of the city and after about a mile of walking we approached Ground Zero. There really wasn't much to see other than fences because the site is under construction. However, what we could visibly see was shrapnel still remaining in surrounding buildings. Things began setting in. This was real. I could see it.
Our next stop was a tiny little church that served as a triage center for those who were injured in the attacks. Not one mark was made on the building. It stands nearly two blocks from Ground Zero. When we walk in we see memorial signs and photos. A week after the attack it was impossible to see into the yard of the church because the fence was covered in American Flags, pictures of loved ones who had died and posters of missing persons who had not turned up in the rubble.
I walked over to a stack of books and opened the first one that caught my eye. It was full of pictures of the minutes before the attack, the moment the first plane hit, the faces of real people in the streets, the moment the second plane hit and the aftermath. I was holding it all together until I came upon a photo of Bill Clinton hugging a woman wearing an FDNY windbreaker. The caption read: Woman says, "My husband died in the attacks yesterday." President Clinton embraces her. This was the moment I lost it. I have no idea why it was this photo, why it was this woman or even this president that effected me, but that is when it fully set in. We were attacked. Someone hated us. Someone wanted us dead. Theoretically, someone could want me dead.
Few dry eyes left the church that day, but it was an experience people my age needed. We may have been alive for the attack, but we never understood it truly until that moment.
Osama bin Ladin is dead, and I find myself to be happy. I do not support the death penalty, but I support the assassination of Osama bin Ladin. The man created terror in the lives of not just Americans, but people around the world, and this world is probably better off without him. His god will determine his fate, and he better hope he is merciful.
"They are in peace"