10 Years Later ...
As everyone stares at the infamous date – 9/11 - one cannot help but remember the devastating events that happened 10 years ago. My grandmother’s generation remembers the exact place they were when they heard of the bombings at Pearl Harbor, killing thousands upon thousands of startled, innocent young men and women. September 11th is my generation’s Pearl Harbor. I remember walking into my math classroom only to see my math teacher gazing at the little television set with streams of tears rolling down her face. I kept wondering what was happening, and then they showed the second plane crashing into the towers. In the days that followed, I remember my teachers and parents discussing the next courses of action that we might take as a country. Did this mean war? Was it going to happen again?
While those few questions have been abruptly answered over the last 10 years, that one-day (like so many other singular dates in history) changed the mindsets of Americans. At the bowels of destruction, death, and heartache, we all found our identities as Americans. We are a nation unlike any other in the world, built on the heritages of a vast mixture of individuals and embracing differences instead of attempting to snuff them out. On that day, ordinary people transformed into heroes that children aspire to be. From firefighters to police officers to the young 18 year-old Marine, Americans have stepped up to the plate and refused to be silenced because of the actions of one group of people.
Ten years ago I was not even contemplating marriage, but I eventually married a US Marine, who has showed me that heroism originates in the heart. With him on deployment, it is hard not to realize how much has changed these past ten years. Deployments, 2 hour security lines at the airport, men and women coming back in a coffin instead of on a bus: all images that strike at the heart and force us to remember where this all started. Reflecting on September 11th this year, I remember the members of the Armed Forces who have willingly given their lives to defend our home and the concept of freedom that this country embodies. I remember firefighters and police officers, two groups of people who seem to never get the attention and praise that they deserve. All of these men and women were heroes; they inspire me to fight for what I believe in. And this is the one thing that continually echoes in my head when I remember the shocking events of September 11th. While I watched it from my classroom, I felt connected to each person I saw. We all bonded together as Americans, and no matter what happens, no one can take that away from us. We are Americans. We fight for ideas and concepts that define us. We are proud of our country and we are all heroes in some way. So let’s remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that all of us could stand here today, 10 years later.
By Brittany Barry