Where Were You?

There are times and events in our lives that bring on moments of reflection where you ask yourself questions like “where were you?” or “what were you doing?”…  Today, I think, is one of those days.  And I think it always will be.
Looking back through history there are dozens, if not, 100’s of events that occurred on September 11 that were important enough, relevant enough, to shape the world that existed at the time.  There have been natural disasters, important battles in distant times, the beginning of important architectural projects, the death of prominent world figures, even the development of new weapon platforms… Yet few events are remembered as well, or with the same level of feeling, as the terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States on September 11, 2001.  Even a decade later, the shockwaves of fear, pain, loss, love and terror that swept the nation, and the world, can still be felt whenever it is thought of.
I can think back, and I don’t have to try too hard, and remember where I was and what I was doing (or supposed to be doing) on this day 10 years ago.  I was living in my grandparent’s basement and had just started my first year of university.  I remember having to wake up early that morning for a calculus tutorial and wandering up the stairs to use the washroom and find some breakfast.  It was with some surprise that I found both my grandparents already awake and watching television when it wasn’t yet even 7am.  I can remember the sound of shock in my grandfather’s voice as he told me of the attacks. (At that time, only the first plane had hit the World Trade Center tower.) 
As I continued getting ready for the day I watched what coverage the networks were showing.  I’ve never really been the kind of person who regularly takes the time to keep up with current events each day, and at 18 I really didn’t think all that much about what happened it the wide-world.  Yet on that morning I watched.  When I got in my car to drive to school, I tuned the radio so that I could continue to hear the reports.  When I got to the university, before I even considered going to my class (and by then I was already a few minutes late), I went to the students lounge where I knew there would be televisions playing, and I watched with no small amount of fear as the second plane of the morning smashed into the Towers.
Class was completely forgotten, and as time passed that morning the crowd in that lounge grew in number to watch the coverage and reports.  It was in near silence that we watched the towers fall.  So many of us watched, not just in that students’ lounge or across campus, but through the city, the province, the country and world-wide, we watched.  Whether we were directly affected by the losses of that day or were merely in shock that such a thing had happened during our lifetimes, we watched, we listened, and we paid attention.  Now, 10 years later, we remember. 
photo from wikipedia.com

November 11 has long been a day of remembrance – for those soldiers who’ve fallen in battles near and far, whether decades ago or just last year.  September 11 is now also a day of remembrance.  But it is not to honor soldiers who willing gave their lives up in battle, it’s a day that the world should remember the men and women who, through circumstances beyond their control and during the course of what should have been a normal day, were taken from their families and friends, from their loved ones, and from the strangers they passed on the streets. 
They were taken from this world to make a point.  Politicians and reporters, analysts and world leaders will all attempt to describe what that point was.  For you and me, and for every person who lost someone that day, the point is clear and the message simple…
There is evil in this world.  And when it chooses to flex its muscle it doesn’t care who you are or who it hurts, as long as it prevails.
In honor of all the people and families that suffered loss on that day – I offer my deepest sympathy and even though I know my words could never change the way you feel about that day, I hope that you are able to take some comfort in knowing that the thoughts and prayers of people world-wide are with you, especially on this day

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