I wanted to write something about today but I couldn't make the words come out for a long time.
12 years later and we're so dangerously close to being overtaken by the same animals who flew airplanes into our iconic towers. Last night our president essentially put OUR military behind the very people who committed that barbaric attack 12 years ago. I wish I could forget. I wish we had eliminated the threat forever and we could all forget. But we can't.
...so we remember.
I remember watching in horror and shock and then racing across town to gather up my 3 year old daughter at her daycare. On the way over, I worried that something would happen in the meantime...they'd attack the children, they'd bomb on a local level. Then I got there and saw on the faces of the other moms and dads, the pain of disbelief, and the frightening horrors of simply not being able to grasp an attack on our soil. I saw the hollowness in the eyes of the parents who thought as I did: We didn't know where we would really be safe but we knew our kids were safer with us.
My daughter and her friends were playing happily, not realizing that these were the final waning moments of the world they were born into. I wish I had thought to take a picture. Or write it down. Or just watch through the doorway for five more minutes before walking in and taking her in my arms. After that day...after that moment, my daughter would live under the shadow of terrorism for the rest of her life. She has grown up with security threat levels crawling across the screen on news stations. With being all but strip searched at airports. With surveillance, and war and fear.
It was the last day of innocence for her. At least as far as her nation was concerned. If I had realized it then, I would have savored it a few minutes longer. Maybe instead of whisking her off, I would have let her play with her friends until we were the last ones to leave. Maybe 30 minutes, maybe an hour. Just a little while longer before the post-terrorist world became her home.
I remember leaving the daycare, and calling her mom, and telling her I had her, and we were going to my house. And I remember not knowing what the heck to do. I went home. We stopped at the grocery store to get some things in case they...you know...in case this was bigger than even the WTC. I remember thinking this might be a full on invasion.
The events that unfolded throughout that day are well rehearsed. We can all recall how it happened. What still hurts is how it felt. How it still feels.
Every generation has an "End of Innocence" For me, it was the day Reagan was shot. For my daughter it was this day. Her innocence ended before it ever began.
I love this country. Love it like a living, breathing thing. As crazy as this sounds, there are times when I wish I could literally wrap my arms around the expanse of her, and just hold on and let my heart beat into this sacred soil. I love her that much. She was everything to my family -immigrants on both sides- and she is everything to me. I miss the way she was when I was young. When my friends and I had no fears of airplanes, and bright blue September skies.
I wish we had leaders who loved her this much. Because her people still do.
I still do...