Thursday, September 11, 2008

Life before?

I was in the dentist chair when it happened. Because of how young I look, the dentist had assumed I was a teen and therefore needed to watch television on the screen set into the ceiling above my head while he began the several hour procedure of working on my mouth. I was, in fact, actually 21. Several fillings, a cleaning and some regular maintenance that I had been putting off for sometime needed to be completed and it would be easier to do in one sitting (not to mention cheaper than coming back time after time). And with my history of gagging everytime a foreign object entered my mouth, this visit was going to prove to be a difficult one.

Laying there my mouth open as wide as it could go with the aid of a block and my eyes closed to try to stop the flow of the the watering, I listened to the shows laughing characters in the headphones surrounding my ears. We were quite a ways into the procedure when I felt another person enter the room. The energy she was giving off was one of terror, sadness and just all around confusion. As I opened my eyes, the headphones muffled the sound of her voice but what I saw the panic upon her face. An odd "Oh my god" sensation swept through the room.

Then I heard it--the chime of an up-to-the-moment new flash coming onto the television screen. I looked up and saw two buildings, identical in shape and size, that I didn't recognize with black smoke rising out of the tops. They looked like two pillar candles on a table that were not lit properly. I realized that whatever had happened would change the course of history in that exact moment but I didn't quite understand why everyone was beside themselves.

As I left the dentist's office that day, the world had become more gray. People were crying. People were in obvious shock. I...well, I was confused. I didn't really understand what was so completely tragic that it affected the people as far away from the scene as where I live. Don't get me wrong. I was saddened by the fact that so many people had lost their lives but really that happens all the time in volcanos, tornados, and hurricanes and since they are never where I live, they don't have that much effect on my personal life.

I went on my way and lived my life the same way I had always lived it for the next year. The only difference were the new (and I must say kick-ass) songs that I found on the radio stations and an odd sense of being proud to have been born in America.

Exactly one year later, I was driving in my car when one of those truly patriotic songs came on the radio. I took the exit into my town singing along when my brow wrinkled suddenly in confusion as the tears started to slide down my face. An overwhelming sadness and sense of loss overcame my entire being and my body shook with sobs so violently that I had to pull over onto the shoulder of the road to save myself from wrecking the vehicle. The song ended and the tears came to a halt and I did the only thing I could think of to do in times of crises.

I ran to my mommy.


It took me a year to finally come to terms with what happened to our country but it's a reality that we deal with on a daily basis in this country...even 7 years later. My children will grow up and read about "the attacks" in their history books and will ask me where I was when "it" happened. It will be just another war in their minds--right up there with Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm because my daughter was yet to be born and my son was less than a year old. They won't remember what life was like before "the war on terrorism" because there never was a "before" for them. This is the way the country has always been in their lives. That's the sad, sad truth.

Today, I fly the American flag (several, actually) in support of my country and the service men and women that are fighting for our honor. I appreciate those troops...even if I don't agree with why they are there...and will lend my support. I hope you will, too.

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