Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember? How could I forget?

Ten years.  Ten years ago today, I was living in Northern California serving as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Aka, the Mormons.  Shocking, I know.

I was training a greenie at the time (a brand new missionary) and we received a phone call letting us know what had happened.  During your time as a missionary, you're not permitted to listen to the radio or watch television or movies.  Phone calls home and the internet were out as well so we were pretty much out of the loop when it came to current events.  I remember thinking how sad it was for the families who lost loved ones but had no inkling as to the full impact of what had just happened. 

My greenie and I went out that day to go tracting.  (Knocking doors.  Yep.  Just like the JW's)  There were more people home and actually opening their doors than usual.  Quite a few people were crying and asked us how, if there really is a God, could he allow something like this to happen?  A couple of people were angry and took it out on us.  Basically asking the same question but in the form of screaming it in our faces then slamming the door.  Most people, however, reacted with empathy, sympathy and love.  We were invited in and asked to pray.  Sometimes we said the prayers, sometimes they did, but the theme was always the same.  Comfort those who are afraid.  Be with those who have just lost their loved ones.  Help the rescuers find those who are trapped and waiting.  And those who were killed, welcome them home with open arms.

Going door to door in the weeks that followed, I had never seen so many American flags or such a fierce devotion to a Nation.  I don't think I have ever been more proud to be an American...even if I am a watered down version.

It wasn't until months later after I had returned home (a mission for women lasts 18 months) that I truly understood the full impact of the attack.  I finally watched some of the footage.  I saw some of the photos.  I saw the people covered in dust, ash and debris with the wet trail of tears streaking their faces.  I saw the pictures of the office workers falling to their death with their ties flapping in the wind.  I saw the families heartbreaking pleas to find their missing loved ones.

This is when it hit me.  The hatred of the attackers.  The devastation.  The families that will never be the same again.  The bravery.  The sacrifices.  The overwhelming outpouring of support and love from strangers across the country.  And this was when I felt that lump get lodged in my throat.  My stomach clenched and my eyes welled up.  I did my best to force that damn lump back down where it belonged.  I hate crying.  I hate crying in front of other people.  But there was no stopping it.  The tears came and refused to be staunched.

It was a terrible, tragic event that still stuns me .  However, that year, I had never been more proud of this country and thinking of the noble, valiant heroes from that day and the weeks that followed, still gives me goosebumps.

25 comments:

  1. Mhm.. so crazy how we all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that day.

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  2. I was talking to my students about how this event was very much a loss of innocence for myself and my classmates. I remember exactly where I was and how I felt. Remembering a day like this and how united we all felt in our emotions gives me hope that we as Americans can continue to feel united as we continue to move on.

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  3. Bay Park Dream- There isn't a single person that I know who doesn't recall the moment they heard about it.

    Tricia- Me too! There are days when I want to slap most of the people I see on any given day but then there are days that give me hope for humanity.

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  4. I think you probably helped a lot of people cope with their emotions and loss of faith that day, without even fully understanding the events taking place. That's pretty amazing.

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  5. What a crazy twist on your experience of 911. That was a very scary day. I imagine it was really strange not to have updates on things, and just see the reactions of our county one on one.

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  6. Fantastic! Really nice post, and I love the way you wrote it. And I would have never guessed that you were a missionary, V. Vixen! ;)

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  7. Fantastic post.

    Also, I didn't know women were allowed to be missionaries in the LDS church.

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  8. I can't imagine being "gone" while something like this was taking place. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    WM

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  9. Beautiful post. I think it's amazing that you were able to be with and pray with people as everything was unfolding. I got tears in my eyes reading this-thanks for sharing.

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  10. We will always remember where we were...

    Pearl

    p.s. I almost always let the door-knockers in. :-)
    What the heck. I'm touched that they care. :-)

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  11. Jane- I'll never know for sure but it's a nice thought. I hope so anyway. :)

    Ajax- It made a lot more sense once I got home and saw it with my own eyes.

    Dawn- Thanks! If I hadn't been there myself, I'd have trouble believing it too. ;)

    C OC M- Cups up and mucho hugs!

    Andrew- Sho nuff. There just aren't as many women who choose to go as there are young men. In fact, my Mom tried to talk me out of it.

    Working Mommy- Thank you so much for reading it and taking the time to comment. :)

    Amanda- It was a pretty crazy experience and I'm pretty fortunate to have been able to have it.

    Pearl- And that Pearl, is why you're a sweet sweet little saint. People like you absolutely made our day!

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  12. I remeber when this happened it was just a month after I graduated high school.

    Just stopping by your blog from the hop. I am your newest follower and would love a follow back over at http://mizzreviewlady-mommyreviews.blogspot.com/
    Thanks:)

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  13. I remember where I was as well. The difference being I was ten and in P.E. Probably thinking about lunch, I was a porker then, I have no excuses and am just a fatass now.

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  14. Whoa. I can't even imagine having to face those questions by the people at their doors. Crazy. And it is crazy that we will always remember the smallest details from that day.
    On another note, thanks for letting me know that my GFC was all whackadoo. I think it is fixed now. At least I hope so! Who knows. Blogger just likes to mess with me sometimes.

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  15. Hi, I am a new follower via GFC from the Follow Me Back Tuesday Hop! Please visit me back and follow. You can like me on FB while you are there if you like!


    Thanks! Debbie

    http://www.debsdealz.blogspot.com

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  16. We all remember where we were and how we heard of it. I just hope nobody has taken a single day for granted since then.

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  17. Mizzreviewlady- I've loved reading all the different stories about where everyone was and the different perspectives.

    Dylanthulhu- TEN??? You're just a baby! I spend the first half of every day thinking about lunch. I don't see the problem.

    Texagermanadian- I've never experienced anything like it since. And about the GFC thing...pretty sure it was user error.

    One Bad Pixie- Unfortunately, being human I'm sure most of us have. At least I have. Reminders are good for me. :)

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  18. I could never get past the third testament, so they kicked me out.

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  19. I remembah.

    I wuz applyin' fo' food stamps.

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  20. Bamatrav- Meh. It happens to the best of us.

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  22. I just finished your dildo post, and then somehow ended up on this one right after. It tricked my mind for a minute. In all seriousness though, that tragic day is one none of us will ever forget. It is incredible that you were doing mission work and able to help families through this tragedy first hand. Even though you got some doors slammed in your face, how rewarding it must have been to help those who were willing to accept your support.

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  23. I would like to see a post about your imaginary life had your mom talked you out of it....
    I wouldnt be writing this, that is for sure.

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