I feel like I need to do something to commemorate the anniversary of September 11th, but I doubt I could find the language to do it adequate justice. Words come easy: terror, courage, faith, fear, love, pain, strength, sadness, disbelief, regret, patriotism, freedom, but combining them into a cohesive, fitting tribute escapes me.
There is a term in psychology called Flashbulb Memory. It defines a memory that is formed during a moment of extreme emotion. The memory takes on such preciseness that it resembles a photograph in quality. Personal events such as car accidents, the death of a loved one, or a wedding day can become flashbulb memories, but they often are the result of shocking or unbelievable events that carry significance for an entire nation or even the world. The most universal flashbulb memories are the assassinations of JFK and MLK and September 11th.
I can still vividly remember, as I sure most of you can, where I was, what I heard, and how I felt. Time, however, changes things. Facts later revealed, wars later fought, sites later seen, and stories later heard all have added weight and significance to my initial flashbulb memory.
I am a horrific journaler, but 2001 happens to be one of my more prolific chronicling phases, and it is interesting to go back and read what I wrote that day while I and the world were still in shock and, some might say, blissfully unaware of just how far and deep the shock waves would ripple and spread from the wreckage at Ground Zero:
September 11, 2001
Today America was attacked by terrorists.
I was doing my hair this morning when a lady called in [to the radio station] and said a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. I thought it was bad weather or something. I took Taylor to piano and while we were there a plane crashed into the other tower. They said it was terrorists.
Soon, a plane crashed into the Pentagon. Another plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Later, we learned a man called his wife on her cell phone, he knew they would die, so he said they were going to do something about it.
Osama Bin Laden is the suspect.
Both towers collapsed to the ground and thousands of lives, including those of rescuers, were lost.
I couldn't believe it. I cried on the way to school. It is the first ward of the new millennium. I can't understand how people can be so evil.
We watched the news all day at school and saw the events as they happened. It was horrible. You could see people jumping out of the towers.
Suddenly, I don't feel safe anymore. America has been attacked and I don't know what is next.
I had seminary last and we talked about the Second Coming and how this is one of the signs, but the end is not here yet.
Today is 9-11. It is a symbol.
I hope that we can forget our differences and band together against this threat.
Freedom suddenly has a whole new meaning to me. I can no longer take it for granted.