Today, eleven years have passed since the terrorist attacks on our country. It's something that never fails to make me emotional, sad, and, even over a decade later, angry that something so unspeakable happened to innocent people. I was in seventh grade, out of town on a family trip, and we turned on the tv in our hotel room right before the second plane hit. I watched the towers fall, live. I was twelve years old and terrified. I will never forget the feeling that someone had taken our safety and security away. That fear, combined with the overwhelming grief for the victims' families, combines even now to make 9-11 something that I will never forget. I've spent quite a bit of time looking for videos to show my history class, and I'm a little bit in disbelief to think that many of them were just babies, or not even born yet. Even my oldest students are too young to remember that day. That's why it's so important that we teach them what happened, and most importantly, how our President and country responded. I wrote this poem last year to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the attacks, and it was printed in our church bulletin. I didn't intend to post it on here, but I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed with emotion regarding today's anniversary, so I thought I'd share it since it kind of sums it all up for me.
I recall like it was yesterday,
The way I felt on that Tuesday.
Our families watched in shocked dismay
As normal changed to disarray.
The crushing blow that we were dealt
By thousands the effects were felt,
And differences were forced to melt
As Americans together knelt.
A nation that for many years
Had looked at God with scoffing sneers,
Now from places dark with fears
Humbly bowed, eyes filled with tears.
We asked for grace in time of need
And wisdom for the ones who’d lead;
And o’er those who’d done this awful deed,
We asked for justice to succeed.
Around the world we prayed as one
To find the ones who’d evil done;
We prayed for every mother’s son
Who’d fight to see the vict’ry won.
The stars and stripes we all displayed
Showed the sacrifices made
By those that freedom’s price had paid;
As patriots, they were not swayed.
I watched the towers as they fell,
And violence’s blow rang freedom’s bell.
A sleeping giant woke to tell
That she’d not rest ‘til all was well.
Our people’s innocence erased;
As shock died down, it was replaced
By fire as our nation faced
A foe regarded with distaste.
To our defense the soldiers raced;
Not a moment did they waste.
The enemy would now be chased
By the strength on which our freedom’s based.
As we gather to commemorate
That infamous September date,
The unexpected twist of fate
That proved again what makes us great,
Let’s take a moment to recall
The Tuesday that we one and all
Rose forward as a mighty wall
To bravely answer duty’s call;
A moment to remember when
Heroes were found in common men.
They could not have known it then,
Their lives would never be the same again.
The men and women of heart and soul,
For whom the bells of valor toll,
Who strove toward a common goal:
Their collective battle cry, “Let’s roll.”
These heroes did not turn away,
For freedom’s price they chose to pay.
Their very lives they chose to lay
Down midst the rubble and decay.
Those servicemen and passers-by
Rushed to find the helpless cry;
They never stopped to question why
Or whether they would live or die.
They simply faced the task ahead;
Many now lie fallen, dead.
They bravely into danger led
And now for them a tear is shed.
How quickly these ten years have passed;
We know that time moves oh-so-fast.
But to the side we’ll never cast
The memories, on and on they’ll last.
But with the memories we must keep
The urgency that through us seeped
As we watched the smoking heap
And for lost souls began to weep.
So though we may not understand,
We trust in Him and what He’s planned.
If we’ll reach to God’s unchanging hand,
He promised that He’d heal our land.
To those who keep us free today,
We express our thanks in some small way
Though it’s impossible to say
The importance of the part you play
To keep our nation safe and free
And preserve our precious liberty.
Your jobs are far from trouble-free,
Yet still you serve so willingly.
We honor you today and yet
We recognize the special set
Who that day died without regret
God bless America!