I was driving, radio on, but barely listening. My mind on the work day ahead and how best to cut a large section of support beam out in order to retrofit a wheelchair ramp, in an upscale restaurant I was working on. The air was crisp this September morning and I could see the promise of the day on the baby blue eastern horizon. I was doing what I loved and … cutting into my morning revelry was the DJ his voice interrupting suddenly, something about a plane crashing into one of the Twin Towers.
I remember thinking it must have been a little plane, maybe a Piper, a little two seater that somehow managed to get into a bad place or perhaps a heart attack, and how awful and hopefully no one else was hurt inside the building because it’s still pretty early, and oh God I hope the wreckage didn’t fall on everyone down on the street!
A few minutes later I pulled in to the job and the owner let me in. I mentioned to him the recent report I heard of the plane crash and he said he had been at the restaurant for over an hour and hadn’t heard but we could turn the TV on in the lounge and see if there was any news.
The both of us ended up sitting in that lounge for the next several hours dumbfounded, staring at the horror unfolding before us, it was at once, both shocking and mesmerizing. Stunned that this was an actual event and not some hollywood producers active imagination. I remember thinking early on how helpless I felt for our country, this was so much bigger than our individualistic abilities.
Although I personally knew no one directly impacted by the events that morning, we were all touched in one way or another that day. It was I sensed a waking up of the collective heart of our nation, restoring the belief that in the face of incredible atrocities we would care for each other, we would support each other and together we would overcome.
Here we are ten years later that patriotic unity seems sharply diminished now, the years of breathing out after that event punctuating the backside of that united gasp. It is not as easy now to sense that our American brothers and sisters would be there if there were an immediate need, I guess that is human nature.
I am guilty of passing a broad judgement on my fellow Americans, accusing them of a lax attitude and wondering if the passing of the greatest generation will leave a void unfilled for the future. That day my fellow men and women proved me wrong, though it may take a wake up call riddled with trials and tribulations, patriots are all around us, everyday people dressed in Clark Kent clothes ready to secure and support the American brotherhood!