My son's assignment was to write a paragraph about how the events of 9/11 affected our family. Peter and I both recounted thoughts, events, emotions. Our neighbor was Captain of the firehouse across from the Towers. My cousin's husband worked for Port Authority. My sister had monthly meetings at Windows on the World.
Luckily, no one we knew was killed. It was Matt's day off. Carlos was late (again). And my sister's meeting went uninterrupted the day before.
We were spared.
In Botswana, having drinks with friends, someone brought up Sept. 11. A solemn silence fell over the crowd. One by one, unprompted, people shared their thoughts - what they were doing when they heard, how it had changed their view of America, of Americans, and even though no one they knew was killed, they mourned two years later.
Today, I am grateful that my family and friends were safe. With thousands of innocent people murdered and hundreds more killed trying to save lives, I am so lucky to know no one who died. But those that did parish, they did not die in vain.
Around the world people united against terrorism. In one day, on 9/11, we were all victims of terrorist acts. What the Taliban set out to do was to show the world how vulnerable Americans were. What they hadn't anticipated was that that vulnerability made us stronger.
On September 11, 2001, Americans weren't seen as greedy, self serving, selfish, egocentric Capitalist Pigs. When those towers were struck and civilians targeted, we were neighbors, cousins, sisters...we were people.
On September 11, 2009, I will shed a tear of regret for all of those lives lost, and another of gratitude for the lives saved.