Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Nation, Indivisible

Just seven years ago today a tragedy brought our nation together. People all across this country came together to help each other. It didn't matter weather you were from the North, the South, a city dweller, a country person, a Liberal or a Conservative—we were all Americans. We stood together.

The tearing apart of this same nation due to the upcoming elections is upsetting. For this one day I am glad that both candidates want to put politics aside in order to remember those who lost their lives that day.

One of the most upsetting aspects of this election to me is the interference of outside nations. On many blogs and in the entertainment industry many British citizens have been pushing their views on who we should elect as our next president. My question to them is "Why should you have a say when you don't pay taxes? There was a little thing called the Revolutionary War when we kicked your butt since you taxed us and allowed us no say in the government." Yes, I have traced my ancestors that fought against the British.

This is a very emotional day for me. As I watch the events on the news this morning I am thrown back to that day seven years ago. I was working as a secretary at a Chrisitan day school within four miles of Quantico Marine Corp base on that bright and clear day. One of the church members called to let us know about the first plane. After that it was very difficult to get news because the phone lines, cells and internet kept cutting in and out. Many of the children's parents were calling in to ask what steps we were taking to make sure their children were safe. Others were asking if we had heard from their spouse, many worked at the Pentagon or at the military base. We had to maintain an air of calm and certainty for the children in our care.

My own father was in the Pentagon when the planes hit the twin towers. He had gone to his old office at the far side of the building when the plane hit his side of the Pentagon. As reports came in about the Pentagon I was able to get a call out to my mother. She had not heard from him. In fact it would not be until late afternoon that we heard from a co-worker of his that he was fine. It wasn't until late evening that he arrived home safe.

My husband had been sent home from his office in a sky-rise building in Northern Virginia. As he tried to get to us he watched as the tanks and military trucks headed up I-95 to respond to the attack.

We knew and worshiped with people who would work as firefighters and in the military that would not return home for a week in order to dig among the rubble of the Pentagon.

My father had planned to work for several more years after the tragedy, but within the year, he left his job to retire. He hasn't spoken much about that day. The only time he does talk about it is when someone speaks ill of Don Rumsfeld. My father saw first hand how when Mr. Rumsfeld was running the opposite direction from all the others that were evacuating. Even when he was encouraged to leave he remained—leave no man behind. My father did lose friends in the attack.

David was a first grader and had a hard time understanding the events (didn't we all.) He couldn't understand why we were so sad because Grandpa was fine. I explained that those who did die were other American's fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. So the following Saturday we took David to see the aftermath of the attack. A Washington Monument with only a handful of tourist with the flags at half mast. We also showed him the Pentagon with smoke still coming out of the gaping hole.

I'm proud to be an American!


Becky K. said...

Thank you for sharing. These events were life changing from a distance...It boggles my mind to think what it was like up close.

Thanks for letting us know your father's experience with Mr. Rumsfeld...I think he gets a bum rap a lot of the time.

Becky K.

Kim said...

Yes, all our lives in America were changed due to 9/11. I think that's why we held together so much for the months that followed.
My father hardly ever spoke about politics at home, so I think that's what has struck us as to how strong his feeling were about Rumsfeld. I was very glad to see that he took part in the dedication of the memorial.