Remember, Remember 11 September

To paraphrase a line from one of my favorite movies V for Vendetta, “Remember, remember the *11th of September*, the gunpowder treason and plot. Remember, remember the *11th of September*, I see no reason that the 11th of September should ever, ever be forgot”. I know, corny and a bit cut and pasted but after that movies release I’d always registered that line with 11 September. A terrorist group plotted to rattle a stable land in an ill-fated attack that opened and entire country’s eyes. Although this happened many years ago, such an even should never be forgotten. know it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted anything new so it’s only fitting that I post something meaningful before I hop back into kicks, hip-hop and random news. Don’t fret! That awesome stuff is on its way, but as always I’d like to take a moment to be a true patriot and reflect on a day that shaped our Nation’s future.

on 11 September 2001 America as we knew it changed within a matter of moments. On that day which we now refer to as simply 9/11, terrorists make a big mistake and bombed the World Trade Center (or “twin towers”) in New York thus sending America into a bit of panic, a touch a worry and a whole lot of anger. History proves that the events on 9/11 was actually the second time the towers took a hit; but this was the first, only and (hopefully) the last time The Towers actually fall. Prior to that day that will forever live in infamy America had seldom fell victim to a terrorist attack and this was most certainly the first time said attack took place on all-out US soil (by that I mean not on an island, territory or providence but actual continental US dirt). Despite the sorrow that took place that day and the lingering turmoil, America did not sit by and let those responsible for this heinous act slide by. Oh no. In true American style ‘we’ suited up, grabbed our gear and head into combat ready to defend our family, friends and country. Gotta love our troops! 🙂

Oddly enough, although I’m now a whole adult (and a Soldier at that) I still don’t entirely understand what went on that day. I can remember clear as day exactly what went on that morning and can actually still recall the confusion that overcame me. I was sitting in history class minding my own business as all of a sudden, the school PA system started blaring with students names instructing them to head down to the gym. At first it stuck me as a bit odd but I didn’t give it much thought; maybe they were bad and all getting suspended or something. I didn’t know! I knew they didn’t call me so I drove on. Things started to get a bit odder though as the list of names did not let up. Soon most of my classroom (which was over thirty-five students) were heading to the gym while a select few of us remained in the classroom. At this point, we remaining students decided to try to get the scoop on what was going on. I distinctly remember a boy in my class asking “what’s going on?” as my instructor (who was a substitute teacher) was called out into the hallway by my principal. I figured there was something wrong because the principal at this school was a hard-ass and always had a really sour look on her face, but as she called my sub out into the hall to talk I could see the fear all over her face.

As any kid would be, we were even more curious as to what was going on once we saw this exchange take place. After bombarding the teacher with the five w’s, she finally said “well, I’m not supposed to tell you guys what’s going on”. A light switch went off in my mind: what the hell do you mean you aren’t supposed to tell us what’s going on? Are we in danger? Fuck this shit! With that I borrowed another student’s cell phone and tried to call my mom; no answer. Now I really wanted to know and no bullshit, was starting to get a bit nervous. By this time there were only eight or so students remaining in the classroom and my God brother who was also my classmate had been called down to the gym as well. “Great. Now I don’t know what’s going on and I’m by myself. I hope no one is shooting or anything. That’d suck” I thought. It was then my teacher finally broke down and said, “the World Trade Center in new York just got bombed”.

After hearing what was going on my attention immediately flipped once again and I started to piece together what was going on with all of the names being called over the PA system. Perhaps I was a bit dense as a kid or I was just happy that there was nothing going on that would put me in immediate danger, but I was a bit relieved. At that age I’d heard of the World Trade Center but truly had no idea what it stood for or what exactly ‘it’ was. I just knew that it was big an in New York (as if everything isn’t big in NY). In lieu of my little knowledge of things, I thought that everyone was making sort of a big deal out of nothing. I mean, sure, it was a big deal but we were all the way in Detroit. If two planes were flown into the World Trade Centers I was pretty sure that they weren’t going to strike them back up and fly them to The D and hit anything there, so I was cool. Along that same line of thought, I couldn’t understand why we as Detroit Public School kids were being called out of school over something that happened in New York. Our parents didn’t come pick us up when the Oklahoma City Bombing took place nor did they rush to come pick us up when Columbine happened so why come get us now? Somewhere in that naivety I figured there must’ve been something I wasn’t getting was afoot.

At this point the assistant principal had called my name (barely) and I sat at a crowded table with a bunch of my friends in the gym. None of the other kids seemed to be too concerned with what was going on, so I acted normal and tried to figure out how my name got called over the PA. After my bother Akeem hipped me to the fact this his mom (my Godmother, clearly) was going to pick us both up I joined them outside as we waited for my mom to get to the school to exchange custody of me. As irritating as it may have been, I wasted no time in asking my mom exactly what was going on and why I’d been taken out of school. She tried to explain to me that what happened on New York was a terrorist attack and that everyone was scared because no one had ever attacked America like that before so it threw the country into panic. Even in my twelve-year-old mind I knew what was going to happen; “panic? What for? This is America. We’re just going to go over there and bomb them… I would’ve stayed in school”. After I got over my confusion and retired from grilling my mom with questions we took a short drive to one of my Grandmother’s house to watch what was going on-on television.

To date I still don’t understand why they kept replaying the planes hitting the towers on the news but it sure did make me upset. I didn’t think it was very nice to show something like that on TV. I mean really, some people had families and friends working in that building; don’t make them suffer by showing that shit on replay all damn day! After watching that horrific replay for an hour or so, President Bush made his way to the teleprompter and delivered his address regarding the issue. I can’t for the life of me remember a damn thing he said but I do remember seeing the sorrow in his eyes and knowing that the next thing to hit the new would probably be Soldiers heading over to Iraq and sure enough, I was right…

Eleven years later we still think of that tragic day and how much it effected us as a country and as a people. To date I have never seen so many people come together for a unified endeavor as I saw the days immediately following 9/11. For at least three months there was no more black and white; male and female nor rich and poor. For the first time I can remember everyone truly being neighborly to the next man and offering genuine concern and aid to a battle buddy in need. For those few days in history we all stood together as American’s determined to take out one common enemy rather than the country being divided amongst itself trying to overtake each side. Upper class people did not try to belittle the less fortunate; instead we worked together to support our troops and reach out the help the families that were hit the hardest by this tragedy. At no point did were black people looked down on; instead we were treated as equal and in some odd cases looked up to. No longer was a black man public enemy number one, but instead a man willing to fight to protect what was his and take care of his family. Wow.  Now I ask you, why can’t we treat each other that way all of the time America?

Eleven years later, despite the falling out of our own (American citizens) we still have many brave Soldiers fighting to keep us safe from terrorists and working to build a bridge of peace between us and those who we once saw as the enemy (Iraq/Afghanistan). Immediately following 9/11 Soldiers were looked at as protects, nobel and great citizens. Now it so seems that my deployed brothers and sisters are treated as public enemy number one. My Christian side knows and understands that war is not ideal and it’s truly awful to lose lives in combat, but as a Soldier it truly hurts my soul that so many people (mostly civilians, both foreign and domestic) view us so poorly. America please try to remember that we do what we do to protect you. We are public servants. Yes, we carry rifles. Yes, we use bombs. Yes, we may seem scary, but I promise we’re not. We followed then and continue to follow orders issued by our Commander-In-Chief to go forward and take the fear you showed following 9/11 and turned it into ammunition to go out and protect you. Ask any Soldier that truly serves for the love of God, family and country, but we do this for you. We have a dream to keep America free and keep our friends and family safe so we go into hostile territory and fight to make sure that you never have to. We suit up in our heavy gear, grab as many rounds as our magazines can hold and storm the front lines and Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) to keep the enemy on their land and ensure that you and your kids never have to worry about the sound of cannon-fire as you sleep or see muzzle flashes in the streets as you head off to work and school. Eleven years of combat is a long time and is truly starting to take a toll on our country, our lifestyle and most importantly (to me) our Soldiers. Please America, remember 9/11 and why we fight. Remember what was lost that day and in an ironic way, what was gained. Please do not forget that we are one fighting force and that 9/11 was not just something that effected New Yorkers or the people you saw on TV, but it effected you as well. Do not continue to turn a blind ey to history or harden your hearts to the facts. Each year that passes continue to remember 9/11 and what happened and so long as we have boots on ground, please continue to pray for our Soldiers. We need it. God bless America!

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