I had wanted to write some kind of grand and eloquent post about today, the 8th anniversary of 9/11. However, the more I tried to flesh something out, the less the words wanted to come. I was beginning to get really worried: where were my feelings? Had I completely forgotten the memory of what this day means to me and my country? I guess I just experienced what actual writers already know--you can't force the words out, they only flow when they are done brewing.
For me, today is and always will be a day of rememberance. Eight years ago to the minute, I was at sea off the coast of the Carolinas and we were making max turns due north. Everyone around me including myself was in a mixture of states: shock, anger, fear, excitement. Everything that had come before had ceased to exist and what lay in the future was now blank. It was a crystalline moment, the focus of space and time narrowed to a single point. 24 hours later I was watching the gaping hole in the skyline billow black smoke into the morning air, my heart breaking.
First and foremost, I want to always remember the feeling of vulnerability. Some might disagree with me on this, but I think it's incredibly important to know how it feels to be blindsided. If you don't know where your weaknesses are you can't shore them up. If you forget that feeling you will cease to be vigilant and it will happen again.
I remember the unity of that day. Everyone came together and there was a bond that transcended race, creed, and partisanship. It was the bond that makes us Americans. No matter our differences before or since, we are bound in that moment forever and no one can take that away from us.
I remember the heroes. When something terrible happens, there are two types of people: those who run away from the danger and those that run towards it. Never forget that there were and are people who willingly place themselves in harm's way, even if they know they will not survive, to ensure the safety of others. That kind of sacrifice and strength of character can never be forgotten or taken advantage of.
When I think about what it means to be an American, I remember seeing all of those things that day: pride, fraternity, charity, heroism, selflessness, adaptation, strength, and most of all intolerance of tyrrany or terrorism. I remember that in the worst of moments we became our best.
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