Twenty-two years ago, some Bad People did a Very Bad Thing. That thing resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, some the day of the VBT, and some weeks or years after.

On the morning of 9/11, I had just gotten home from a night shift. I went online to chat with friends, after getting my kid off to school, and people started telling me someone was bombing NYC. I thought it was bull, but I went and turned the TV on. I tuned in just in time to see the second tower hit. It took a long time to register what I was seeing was real.

I had friends who worked at the Twin Towers. I had friends who had kids in the daycare next door. I had friends who were supposed to be on flights to NYC to be at the Trade Center that day. I had friends who worked in or near the Pentagon. I had friends who lived very close to where the plane went down in Pennsylvania.

People often ask, where the hell was “god” that day, when so many good people died? I try to explain, God (Goddess, The Many and The One) was busy. God was there with the people who took down the plane in PA, giving them courage. God was with those who stumbled blindly down smoke choked stairwells at the Towers. God was making sure some people were sick and missed their train, plane, bus, and weren’t there when they should have been.

One friend was supposed to be in the first tower, getting ready for a presentation. He missed his flight due to a sick kid. Another friend was supposed to be in THAT wing of the Pentagon that day, but she was home sick herself. Another friend was supposed to be driving under the bridge pretty much at the moment the plane struck the Pentagon, but he had pneumonia and was safe in bed. A couple of friends were supposed to be on one of the flights that hit the towers, but got bumped or missed flights.

I’m not trying to minimize what happened, but it could have been so very much worse.

Right now, half my social media is spouting “Never Forget!” and the other half is talking about how traumatic it is to bring up old news and trauma like this. I believe they’re both right.

I will never forget what I was doing, where I was, or the weeks after 9/11. It was a terrifying time.

There’s something else I’ll never forget, either. For a few days, we were One Country, One People. Everyone stood together. Differences were set aside. Religious leaders of opposing sects worked together to sort through the rubble. Medical professionals gave their all. Emergency services went above and beyond. Aid poured in from around the world.

For one shining moment, the Very Bad Thing had shown us what we could be, if we worked together. We weren’t ready to make that our reality, but it showed us. What has been seen can never be unseen.

And that’s why I tell my kids about it every year. That’s why I talk about it here and other places on social media. When I say, “Never forget!” I am referring to what happened after the dust settled, not the planes and the horror.

Never forget, we have the ability to work together, to set aside all our petty differences, if we really need to.

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By hagar

9 thoughts on “Never Forget”
  1. People have been taught( duped) to focus on the petty useless crap spoon fed to the masses by “media” look, we now have to have a tv in the gas pumps to shout useless shiite at us while getting our two an a half gallons of gas … I was at my parents house that day as my mom was coming home from England and it is also dads birthday so I don’t forget. Some day America will figure out what really matters..

    1. Travis, the people who did it considered themselves Muslim, yes. It was not “the Muslims” anymore than it was “the Christians” who proselytized at the Jewish holy site. I don’t see people minimizing that some very bad people used other people and airplanes as bombs. We went to the Middle East, we wreaked revenge, and a good portion of the people (who didn’t die in the fiery crashes) involved are now dead. The rest are hiding in small holes. But none of that changes that my post was about seeing the positive. You went right down the bad side. You okay? You seem to be having an angry day.

  2. I don’t say “never forget”. Instead, I say “never forgive”.

    On the evening of 9/11/2001, I made a poster (I suppose now it would be called a meme?) with on it the text of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, a US flag, the date, and “never forgive”. It hung on my office wall so long as I had an office; I still have it.
    Before that day I knew some of the first stanza of the Battle Hymn, but not the rest of it. It’s very much worth reading the entire poem.

    1. While I understand and respect what you say… I have to move on. I don’t know if “forgive” is the right word. I was incredibly lucky: no one I knew died that day. I was not harmed directly. I’m mindful of that. But for me (and only for me… I speak for *no one* else), there comes a time when I must relegate the horror to history. I’m not sure if we’re at that moment yet, but we are close at least.
      The question my children have to answer, when they take their classes in high school, is what caused this to happen? Who were the terrorists trying to hurt? Did they succeed? Why did it happen at THAT MOMENT in history? Yes, the memory needs to be kept alive, but the anger and horror has to be freed, so that everyone can grow and heal. Otherwise, the terrorists win, and I’m not willing to give them the pleasure.
      We must remember, because to not remember history is to doom ourselves to repeat it. But just as the people of Germany today are not the ones who burned millions of people during WWII, the people of America today are not the same ones who were bombed on 9/11. Time to focus on the positive, without ever forgetting (or forgiving in some cases) the past.

  3. Re: it was not “the muslims” — that’s somewhat true, but only somewhat.
    Right after the attack, there were jubilant celebrations in various Middle East countries. And not long after, a public opinion survey done in Holland — not what you would think of as a hotbed of Islamic extremism — found that 30% or so of Dutch muslims approved of the attack. 30%.
    This sort of thing makes a difference. When “right wing” crazies make racist statements, it’s instantly publicized worldwide. It’s also instantly denounced by essentially everyone, of every political leaning. But when left wing crazies (like Omar or Tlaib) make racist statements, publicity is mostly limited to one party, as is criticism.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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