I know everyone and their brother are writing about 9/11 on the eve of the 10th anniversary. But I felt I had to chime in as well, as my life has changed so much in the last 10 years. This blog is not just about how I have changed, but how how the world has changed as well.
Back on that morning…
I was 24 years old, living with my friend Beth in an apartment in Farmington Hills. I had completed my MSU graduate school courses, but was working on completing my Master’s thesis. I was also feverishly looking for my first job in radio. Rich and I were just dating at the time. 😉
I remember September 11th, 2001 like it was yesterday. I awoke around 8am to the sound of our landline phone ringing. I don’t remember who called, but Beth answered. We were alerted to what was going on. We turned on the TV immediately and witnessed the second plane hit the World Trade Center. We watched in awe, horror and then sadness. We also witnessed the horrific site of those poor people jumping out of those World Trade Center windows. To this day, I have a hard time believing that happened.
It felt so ironic for this horrific act on such a gorgeous day. It was sunny with few clouds in the sky. Just the day before, there was a big storm as I drove home from Lansing Airport, after having flown back from a broadcasting conference in New Orleans. Yes, I flew the day before 9/11. One of my classmates, Valerie, had stayed behind to visit family for a few days. After all flights in the entire country were grounded for almost a week, she ended up having to drive back up to Michigan from Louisiana. I remember thinking how thankful I was that I got home before 9/11. I could not imagine driving all that way on my own. (I’m not saying I would not do it, or that I was not capable. I just would not have liked it.)
I’ll also never forget being glued to the TV for literally 12 hours on 9/11. And I’ll never forget the tone of my dad’s voice when I called him that day. That man, one of the strongest men I knew, sounded a bit scared and dumbfounded (like most people in this country). The few words he spoke that morning spoke volumes. This tragedy was massive.
In addition, I remember trying to contact people I knew lived and/or worked in New York City. Rich’s college roommate John tried to reach his then girlfriend (now his wife) who worked right near the World Trade Center. He was in Vegas for work. After many attempts to reach her, I recall him telling Rich how he was so panicked that he literally ran to his hotel room restroom to vomit. I don’t blame him. (Thankfully, she was just fine. It was impossible to get through for hours as cell phone networks were jammed.)
It was a chilling day that I think every American will remember forever. And 10 years later, the sights and sounds from that day still make me cry.
So how has life changed since then?
Here are a few snippets from my life:
-I got my first “real job” after college in commercial radio
-Rich and I bought our first place – a condo that we loved and lived in for 7 years
-We got married
-My dad passed away 2 1/2 months after I got married – talk about one of the best AND worst years of my life
-We adopted our first dog, Sarah, who lived with us for 4 years until she passed
-I quit my job in radio, helped my mom run the family business that she took over when my dad passed
-I started my own business
-We adopted our second dog, Pebbles, who has been with us 3 years now
-We adopted our first cat, Lexi, who has been with us for a year and a half
-We bought our first REAL home, a house that we also love (and continue to love more as we fix it up)
-We’re expecting our first child
(I’d say those are some pretty big changes.)
What about the rest of the country?
To say a lot of things change in 10 years for everyone would be an understatement. As far as our country goes, I had really hoped things would have moved in a more positive direction. They looked as if they would, especially right after 9/11. The immediate reaction after the terrorist attacks was to come together as one as Americans. Just about every car donned an American flag after 9/11. And while I knew that enthusiasm would not last forever, I am continually surprised at how we have gone in the complete opposite direction.
Instead of finding ways that we as human beings are all the same (I can venture to guess that we all want acceptance and to love and be loved), Americans are more and more divisive. If we ever want true peace after a tragedy like this, we’re going to have to find some common ground again. If we ever want to get ANYTHING positive done, we need our politicians to quit name calling and start compromising. We need to respect each other as human beings. We need to value each other and help educate each other.
OK, before this turns into a big rant, I’ll spare sharing specific stats on crime, unemployment, lack of healthcare, the hurting environment, etc., and I’ll pose a few questions:
-Where were YOU that morning?
-How has YOUR life has changed since 9/11? Are you happier? Feel safer? Still angry about 9/11?
-How do YOU think the US has changed since 9/11/01?
-Do you have any special plans to commemorate the anniversary this Sunday?
P.S. Here’s one great idea for Metro Detroiters to commemorate 9/11: