We Forgot We Stood as One

We forgot the day our world fell down
We forgot the buildings falling into the streets
We forgot the pain on every dusty face
We forgot that people went to work to never return home again
We forgot that moment for ever frozen in time
That moment that changed so many lives

We forgot we stood watching in fear
Who was responsible?
What place would be next?
How could we be safe?
Is it safe to rest?

We forgot that war was not just in faraway lands
We forgot that kids died there playing with toys
We forgot that orphans were made in the blink of an eye
We forgot the people who jumped from the buildings trying to save their lives
And as they fell, we prayed, that God was at their side

We forgot we stood immobile, like a herd of deer
We forgot the news and our stunned disbelief
We forgot that a nation pulled together in its grief
We forgot that we put aside our differences, our political correctness and pointless reasons to fight,
All to stand united and do what was right

We forgot the plane that crashed in that field
We forgot those passengers who fought to the end,
And probably saved thousands with their sacrifice
We forgot the people who called to say goodbye
We forgot all the tears our nation cried

On this day we should remember
We should pray
Remember that terror
Remember that pain

Remember a nation that changed in a flash
Remember our flag rising out of the ash

Remember that moment our world changed forever
Remember the reason we now have to stand in long lines, shoeless, just to be scanned
To sit on a plane for a trip that we planned

Remember the families who had no choice but to grieve
Remember the horror of that terrible scene

Remember those, the ones who died
The citizens who stepped up, just trying to save the unfortunate stuck inside

Remember that in all this disaster
We all forgot our religion, our class, our politics, our race
And we stood together as one American face


For dVerse’s poetry challenge ~ How We Forgot

How September 11th Changed Me

On September 11, 2001, I was in Hawaii. Yes, I was in paradise, but even there, the world stopped.

I remember getting a predawn phone call from our family in the main land. They told us what was going on and we immediately got out of bed and turned on the news. We watched the second plane hit, and just like the rest of the world… our hearts stopped.

My high school-sweetheart husband was in the Army. I had just completed my basic training with the Army Reserve, and that upcoming weekend was to be my first drill weekend. So, we immediately thought like Soldiers.

We checked the kids. We called friends and other family members. We gathered all the information we could from the news. We secured the house. We reported our status with our units. And, in between all of that, we knew, our duties as Soldiers were forever altered.

As the facts unfolded throughout the day, fear was in the air – even in Hawaii. The military gates were on lock down and only the select few were allowed access. Schools were closed. Traffic was sparse as everyone stayed in place. It was as though the world was partially frozen and moving in slow motion.

The trepidation touched even the youngest of hearts. My 7-year-old daughter and I walked outside at one point in the day, and a plane roared overhead. As I looked up at it, my innocent child fearfully asked, “Mommy, are they going to crash into us too?”

If these things were happening all the way in Hawaii, I can only imagine the choking atmosphere in the main land.

Now that so many years have passed, I look back and reflect on how that day altered so many people’s lives. Obviously, for those directly involved in the events, it must have been like living in a never-ending nightmare. I imagine those days must replay in their heads like Soldiers’ night terrors from war. Posttraumatic stress is not limited to those who wear a uniform. My heart and soul ache for those people. There cannot be a way to truly recover from such pain. All you can do is find a new normal and move forward.

September 11th changed my world, like many others. I deployed a few times. My husband deployed a few times. In our own little way through our assigned jobs, we were fighting terrorism. Those were just the direct effects though. Indirectly, it transformed my way of living. The horrible day showed me that nothing is permanent. We are not promised a tomorrow. We are never truly safe from danger or hate.

I have never understood or will understand terrorism. I cannot fathom the energy it must take to hate with every fiber of being. The time it must take to plan such destruction must be exhausting. If I do not like someone, they do not exist to me. I will not waste time thinking about them or finding ways to ruin them. With the unknown amount of time I have left on earth, I choose to live. I will embrace my friends and family. I will try new things. I will take calculated risks. I will see new places. I will stop and breathe in the beauty of the world that God created. I will make attempts to honor him and make a difference in the world. (Not sure how much I really achieve on this note, but at least I mean well and will keep trying.) I will welcome each day and cherish the gift that it is as tomorrow may never be.

Ultimately, I think this is how we, average people, beat the terrorists. We show them that their blows cannot stop us. We continue to live, love and laugh. We all keep working and rebuilding. We support the global efforts to eliminate their awful souls. We refuse to let their hate taint our hearts — dampen our spirits. We spread a little kindness each and every day. Regardless of politics, races, or religions, we band together when things are bleak. United together, the radiance of our joy and life can illuminate the dark and win over evil.