10 years later…

What has changed since September 11, 2001? What has remained the same?

It’s a question most of us can’t ignore right now.

The last 10 years have been incredibly significant for me on a multitude of levels. Just recalling where I was when I found out about this tragedy speaks volumes of how much my life has changed.

We had just moved back to Michigan after living in Tucson for 3 years. I had an early Environmental Science class that morning. When it let out around 9:30a, everyone in the class was clueless. As I got into my purple Chevy Prism to head home before my afternoon class, my radio was tuned to Howard Stern. At first, I thought it was some sort of twisted bit they were doing, but even Howard & Robin sounded confused, and dare I say — scared. I arrived home, turned on the tv, only to confirm what my ears could barely believe.

Then, probably like most of the country, I panicked.

My sister lived in NYC at the time. I tried calling her several times, but couldn’t get through. I called my dad — he was a smart guy, he’d know what was going on. He rarely said “I don’t know” but that day, he did. My sister ended up calling my parents at some point that afternoon to let them know she was safe, but the phone cut out before they could get much else out of her. I spent the rest of the day alone in my living room, staring & crying at the tv with the rest of the world. When the hubs finally made it home, we hugged & cried some more, grateful we had each other. I finally got ahold of my sister late that evening, and we shared, what I felt was a really bizarre conversation. She lived a few dozen blocks away from the towers and even though she lived in the city where this massive tragedy happened, she seemed oddly giddy, because she was so removed from what was happening. She hadn’t seen the plane hit the towers at all because they couldn’t get tv or internet service, and the phones were very spotty. Transportation services were down. She was basically stuck in her apartment. You know how we were all glued to the tv? My sister, a NYC resident during 9/11, didn’t see what actually happened for days.

Today, the only thing that’s the same about anything I just wrote and my life today is that I’m still married to the hubs.

And that’s a good thing.

I don’t know if any of our lives could’ve remained the same after 9/11. I know my personal perspective on life was altered that day. As much fear as I had in the days that followed, the fear turned into something else… remember how we all embraced each other? Didn’t matter if you were a conservative or a liberal, we were in this together. For example, 3 weeks after 9/11, our group of friends had planned a fall camping trip and the weather turned wicked cold (as it tends to do in Michigan) it was possible it would snow. With the state of the world being what it was, my friend Eric & I were determined to keep the plan of doing something in Ludington, so we hit the phones and stumbled upon a little nest of cottages on Hamlin Lake. Nothing fancy: a wood stove, kitchen, and 3 small bedrooms. The couple that owned it told us they wouldn’t be there, but they’d leave the doors to the cottage opened for us and if we could leave them $100 for the weekend, that would be fine. We were so shocked, yet deeply touched. But that was the level of peace & trust that the community had back then. We embraced each other. My friends & I could’ve easily given up on that weekend, but we didn’t. Life felt so precious. We needed to escape together. I’m so happy we did. Weekends like that are rare today.

I miss that level of trust within the community. Why did that disappear? Although I was always a make-love-not-war type of gal, I didn’t get political very often, but my passion for politics has definitely increased since 9/11. That could be my age & maturity development as well, considering I was 24 & kidless and I’m 34 with 2 children now. I really feel that the economic crippling we’ve been fighting over the last 10 years can be directly blamed on the terrorists. As much as my left-leaning ass would love to toss all the blame Bush’s way… it’s just never all one person’s fault.

There are times that I wish I would’ve kept my awesome job in the music industry in Tucson for one more year instead of moving back to Michigan when we did. But I am grateful we had moved back to MI just before all of this happened, not only because it’s possible another job opportunity wouldn’t have come the hubs’ way… but also because I swore I’d never fly again (I hated flying pre-9/11!). It took me 5 years to get back on a plane… but I have flown again, several times since, in fact.

Maybe our country can fly again soon too.

Soar past what the terrorists did.

Rise above it all.

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