It is in great reverence that I write this entry.
In Sandy, there was a display of flags - each one representing someone who died in the attacks on 9.11.2001 - and a note describing the person. Eric and I went and visited the display and this was our experience.
It's a quiet, beautiful day at the field of flags. The site is absolutely amazing to see.
As we approach the display, I say to Eric, "Wow. The people who put this up are amazing. It must have taken SO long to write a story for each person, and then come and put it all together."
(There were so many flags I couldn't even fit them all in one picture. Above you're looking at one side of the field, and below you're looking at the other side of the flags - and this was several pictures smashed together.)
After that, it hit me like a ton of bricks how sad of a day 9.11 was for the families who lost their loved ones.
For people who were in all these places in the signs below, died...
and the people they left behind had their worlds shattered.
*I remember clearly the day of the attacks. I lived in WA, I was 15, and a junior in high school. I had been in seminary all morning so I hadn't heard what was going on. When I got to school, I remember people talking about a plane running into the World Trade Center. I thought they meant a small jet plane. It wasn't until my 4th class of the day, that our history teacher talked to us about what was really going on and showed us what had happened.
I was heartbroken for those people. I remember feeling like things were going to get much worse - that this was the beginning of a war on America. I remember feeling lost and confused about what might happen next.
I remember getting home and seeing that my mom was still trying to make my sister's birthday special. I remembered being very grateful for the family I have. I remember making sure I told everybody I loved them very much.*
As I continue walking through the flags, I think of how mean, how harsh, how stupid the people who crashed those planes could be. While the flags are whipping in the wind, I think about how we let those terrorists live (for a short or long period of time) in our country - and this is how they decide to treat us? This is how they show our country that they are grateful to live here?
And then I turn and look at my husband - who is going through and reading all the notes on each flag...
- notes for every single person who died -
-EVERY. single. one.-
-The first field is 28 flags wide and 43 flags long. That's not a small amount.-
-To go through each tag would take hours on end - how I wish we had the time that day to do so-
And I see that he is crying.
*My experience of 9.11 was watching from far away. I didn't know anybody who died.
Eric was there though. Experiencing it with his peers. He knows people who worked there - and weren't killed. It meant something completely different to him than it did to me.*
And I watch him. And I think about what would have happened if for some reason, this was now, and he was there, and he was not in my life.
And I begin to mourn for those people who lost their loved ones that day.
As we cross the short stretch of road to get to the second field, we pass this...
and get to this.
Through this next side of flags, we see signs for the milestones of our country. I remember how lucky we are to live here.
As we finish walking through the flags and reading the notes, Eric turns to me and says, "Everybody was right in the middle of life. They weren't in a war throwing grenades and one hit them - they were just eating breakfast, or in a meeting."
And again, I think, how did someone do this to us?
After the field of flags, we drive over to this statue they made remembering the famous picture of the three firefighters.
And again, I think of all the people we lost that day - some who were just trying to help other people live.
Remember the day we lost so many... and stood together...
For you can't ruin America. You can't tear us down. We will rise together. We will stand as a country together. We will serve. We will love everyone. We will mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort.
America is beautiful. America is great. America is my country and I feel so blessed to be living here. I feel so blessed for my freedoms, and the people who try so hard to give those freedoms to us.
We love you America and will forever remember what it means to live here.
I am PROUD to be an american.