They called it a clear blue sky day. One filled with wonder and imagination, just like the hundreds of thousands of days before it. People moved back and forth on the asphalt streets, desperate to get to the one place they needed to before the hands on the clock told them they were late. The intense movements of New Yorkers in Lower Manhattan, all with their own vibrations and mental calamities, came to a crashing halt that morning. Eyes cast up towards the growing fireball to watch in horror as flames reflected in their lattes and juice bar drinks. Voices, once an overgrown garden of a thousand scents, suddenly spoke one language. Fear and death slipped the chains which held them back and reached out to touch not just all of New York, but the entire United States. Questions without answers prompted more questions, and as the bravest of us all picked through the rubble, some huddled in their homes as the grip of terror would not let them leave.
The day for me was far different than those in New York. I don’t remember a day before or after where I watched as much television as I did on September 11th. I worked the afternoon shift at a local Radioshack, a decent place for a young twenty something who was intent on showing his girlfriend’s family that he had a plan. My brother woke me up that morning, coming into my bedroom in a panic about what was happening on television. I hadn’t managed to get the sleep out of my eyes before the live shot showed a second plane hitting just after 9am.
Disbelief. Shock. Anger. My mind churned through the baseline emotions of a teenager who’d grown up in the nineties with ease. I didn’t trust the government after the 2000 election results, and I failed to believe our nation could fail this absurdly. The twenty-four hour news cycle went into full alert and forced me to watch. It was everywhere. If I wasn’t watching on television, I was listening to AM radio in the car, or watching the reports at a coffee shop downtown where I met a friend. When I heard about the Pentagon and then Flight 93 – it was clear to me our world was irrevocably changed.
My thoughts were echoed by so many of my own friends. We couldn’t believe something like this could happen here. These things happen elsewhere. America is too strong to let something like this happen here, and we have the greatest military on Earth, right? The truth – or some semblance thereof – which followed in the days, weeks, months, and years showed how wrong so many of us were. The red meat we’d eaten at the Cold War table had long since spoiled. We were weak, blind, and drunk on American Imperialism. Our grandiose lives had made us fat and stupid. America had taken its collective eye off the ball, and when our guard dropped we took a near fatal blow. I’m not here to argue about how it happened, or my feelings about the response, as those are matters for a different place and time.
The choices of other people can have an innumerable amount of effects on your life. It doesn’t matter what you have planned for today – someone somewhere can alter it in a permanent way. None of the people walking to work or taking their children to school had any idea the towers were going to be attacked, and their lives would never be the same after that day. Live your life today as if it matters – because it most certainly does. You have the power inside you to make every single day count and I implore you to do so. This world needs more people willing to live their lives as if they could lose them the next moment. Stop chasing your dreams and go catch them, not just for yourself, but for the rest of humanity who chose not to.
Addendum: I realize I said I would miss this week’s blog, but a scheduled trip to see a close friend in Minnesota did not happen. I’ve spent my extended weekend with my new fiance. In my life I’ve never been happier than I have been with her. Not all of us are as lucky as I am, and believe me when I say it is not something I take for granted. With no trip to the land of many lakes, I had the extra time to give you some thoughts and wrap up a little bit of work before Echoes of the Deep releases. I’ve made the Kindle version of it available for pre-order now, so make sure you are ready for September 23rd.