You’d think after 14 years that the thing with the falling of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, the plane that crashed into the Pentagon and the other plane that a group of heroic people made fall in Pennsylvania, giving up their lives for the lives of others, would get easier to deal with.

ph33946695

Nope; it seems life doesn’t work like that. This week, for the first time, I watched a video on YouTube from that day which highlighted when the first plane hit, which was at 8:46AM, until the Towers finally fell. I’ve never watched any of those videos in all these years. I’ve seen videos here and there, and in previous posts on this day I’ve highlighted this one video which showed how another brave group of people on that day decided to help move people off the island because they felt compelled to help. That’s what we do as Americans; when the chips are down all differences are put aside and we help each other. Here’s a link to that video.

The reason I’ve never watched any of those other videos is because, luckily for me, I’d never seen any of the footage of the people who jumped from the Tower buildings and lost their lives because of it. Can you imagine making a choice between which way you want to die like that? I’d always known about it and thus always avoided it, but this year I finally watched an entire video of it… wow…

In all my years, I’ve really only known two people who were there on that day. One person was actually in one of the towers when it hit; can you imagine that? Her life was saved by the bravery of many other people, but mentally she had to deal with one specific question for a lot of years – why did she survive when so many didn’t. That’s another hard question to answer, another question I’m glad I’ve never had to look at. A couple of years ago she did this interview , and wrote a book called Pursuing Your Destiny, which talks about that day and how her life and business has changed because of it.

The other was the nephew of one of my best friends, someone I’ve known for almost 40 years named Jeff. He didn’t see the first plane hit but he saw the second plane. He was about a block away, taking a class in a vocation I can’t even remember, when they heard the first plane hit. He and others went outside to watch, and he actually saw people jumping out of one of the buildings. It’s something he deals with every year around this time; once again, I’m glad it’s something I don’t have to deal with.

A few years ago, some guy on Facebook saw something I posted on the anniversary and asked me why we have to keep revisiting it every year. I was greatly irked; how could anyone ask this question? I’m not sure what I said to him, but I dropped him from my feed immediately; how uncaring could one person be, an American no less, by asking a question like that.

All these years later, though I still don’t like it, I understand it a little better. I live in New York state; I’d been at the top of the Towers a few times. On that day, I wanted to drive down there to help; it would have been fruitless, and had no plan, but I wanted to go.

People who didn’t live here, who had no real connection to the area, didn’t feel the same. After all, when Timothy McVeigh committed his heinous crime in Oklahoma City in 1995, we all had a kneejerk reaction to it, thinking it had to be foreign terrorism. When we learned it was homegrown, many of us were really more angry at him than remembering that so many of our citizens, including a lot of children, were killed by a homegrown terrorist. Every year when that anniversary comes up I read about it, but I don’t feel it as much. That’s just being honest.

But I acknowledge it, know the reason it needs to be acknowledged, and always realize that at any time, at any moment, at any place where there’s a lot of people, my life is always in danger, both from within and without. When we think about that, we have to remember things like the planes hitting the Twin Towers, the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the attempted bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 in Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 that killed 270 people total, 189 were American citizens and 43 British citizens, 35 of those Americans from Syracuse University, the area where I live.

Today’s Twitter hashtag commemorating the event is #NeverForget911; I never will.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch  Mitchell