I’m not the patriotic type.
The Fourth of July is actually one of those holidays that I can live without celebrating. I’m not even a huge fan of fireworks.
But 9/11 – it gets to me.
In so many ways.
The whole “people who serve” thing just cripples me. The level of decency from which some people function is absolutely mind-boggling. If I could have a hundredth of that pure goodness my life would be so incredible.
I think about the people jumping out of the building – deciding that it would be a better way to go than collapsing in a burning building.
I think about the mothers and the fathers on those planes, knowing that their children were about to die and trying to comfort them.
I try to imagine being so devout that I would be willing to give away my life and the lives of so many oblivious and decent people.
I try to imagine that level of hatred.
I try to imagine what a person would be feeling when they survived and their friend from the next cubicle over didn’t.
I wonder what wives would feel towards one another when one man lived and the other didn’t.
It is unthinkable. Unspeakable. Unfathomable.
My brother was there. THERE.
He lives in California. He was there on a quick business trip. He went downstairs to get a cup of coffee. Everyone in his office died. He watched the second plane hit. He left when people started jumping. He ran all the way uptown. He went to his childhood town to stay in a hotel and hide.
I am lucky.
Being the liberal, peacenik, hippie, that I am, my immediate reaction was definitely not “retaliation.”
If I was my brother, his wife, his (our) parents, would I feel differently? Would I say, like my sister-in-law did, of The Patriot Act, “I don’t care what rights they take away, I never want to live those (post collapse, not knowing) hours ever again?”
If my brother had died, how would I feel about losing freedoms and killing others, because my brother had been killed by terrorists.
I am happy that this day does this to me. Thankful that my brain spins through all of these truly horrific imaginings. This keeps me humble, keeps my feet on the ground. If every other day of the year I walk around thinking only of myself and my woes, I know that for this one entire day, I will think of others with compassion and love.