This blog is all about the places we’ve been. It takes you along on our travels and gives you a look into our current city of Seoul. Today, however, I want to step back in time and go way back to where I was on one of the most significant days of my life and tell you how it has affected my life since. The day was September 11th, 2001.
I was starting my third year of college. I didn’t even have a TV, and it was on the radio as I woke, that I heard what was happening in America. I made a quick call to my parents who had already been awake for hours, and were watching it all unfold on their TV. My father described to me what he saw. I went to to a friend’s apartment after class, and that’s where I stayed all day. My friends and I sat staring at the screen for hours, watching the footage over and over, listening to people’s stories and seeing a nation in shock and mourning.
I was far from NYC, Virginia and Pennsylvania. I was far from the devastation. I was far but, yet I was close. We all were, we watched and we connected with the suffering nation. We were drawn closer through the TV images and through prayer.
It wouldn’t take long for the events of that day to change my life. It would change the little things from increased airport security to how I saw the world. Suddenly, I was learning about Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, Taliban and Islam. In a day, I looked at the world in a whole new way. In a 24 hour period, my outlook on the world would change. In learning about these things, I was being changed. My heart went out to Afghanistan, its poverty, its troubled history and how it suffered under the restrictive Taliban. I learned about the extremist views of Al Qaeda and the evil behind their detailed terror plot. I learned that evil exists in our world. I learned about their leader and his life mission to wreak havoc on our freedom and way of life. I learned how to distinguish between the extremism of Islam and the Muslims who hated the attacks on that morning as much as I did. Through all of these lessons, I prayed.
I spent yesterday much in the same way I spent the day ten years ago. I sat in front of my TV. I watched the same footage and pictures that I saw ten years ago, the images still fresh in my mind. I watched the memorial services and held my tongue during the moments of silence. I checked facebook and twitter and read how other people were feeling on this day, ten years to the day that shook our lives. I began to realize as I read tweets from my fellow twitter users, that many were just children when it happened. That at the time, they didn’t understand it. Through their child’s eyes, it wasn’t real or it was too big for them to understand. I started to think what this day will be like ten years from now, on September 11th, 2021 or 20 years from now on September 11th, 2031 – when many who walk among us will feel less affected by it because they weren’t even alive when it happened. They won’t know what life was like before that day and how life changed for us all after that day. It won’t touch their hearts like it will touch those who lived through that day, who felt connected through the sadness and through prayer. Sadly, it won’t be remembered the same. It will be like the World Wars. They were devastating and horrific events and yet are so deep in the past that somehow they will never affect us the way they affected those who lived through them. We remember but, we won’t completely understand the gravity of it all. How it changed their lives.
I’ve been to many places since that September day. I graduated college, got married, moved abroad, traveled, worked, etc…, but I will never forget the 11th day of the 9th month in 2001 and how it has affected my life since.