It's been interesting to watch everybody status updates/blog posts/twitter updates about where they were when they found out the news. I can still remember very vividly sitting on the back row in Brother Drapers Old Testament class in the MARB building. As class started he said something along the lines of "like the planes that crashed in NY" in reference to how unpredictable the world could be. While he treated it as something really light, I remember the feeling that life had changed--America had changed that day.
As I watched hour after hour of footage trying to make sense of it all, different emotions swam inside of me--anger, fear, patriotism, gratitude. I wondered if this terrorism would continue and if we would always live with this sense of unease. I wondered how it would shape our country and my generation.
Looking back over the past eight years, I've noticed some things. Our sense of patriotism, so high in those months and years following the attacks, has waned, as has our sense of duty and national identity. As as the events of that day really haven't had a lasting impact on our lives, I've noticed that it's really back to life as normal. Almost like we are trying to block out the events of that day and pretend like they never existed. Those few small areas where our lives were impacted, tighter security, liquid restrictions, etc., seem like they have always been that way as we have adapted in a way to move forward.
President Bartlet, in the West Wing's special episode to commemorate the attacks said " We don't need martyrs right now. We need heroes. A hero would die for his country, but he'd much rather live for it."
And I think that is the biggest thing that the events of September 11th taught me. To live for my country. To be willing to protect and stand up for those those things I find to be sacred, while looking past the outward difference and find what we have in common. And doing so will allow me to continue saying "God continues bless America."