The morning of September 11, 2001 I was awoken by my T.V. alarm which happened to be tuned to CNN. I sat up and stared in disbelief at video footage of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. I remember thinking it wasn’t real, there was no way, but my doubts were turned to brutal truths when I trekked down to campus and discovered my fellow students all glued to the closest T.V. screen watching in horror the news coverage of the unfolding events. I was still a naive, self-absorbed kid at that point in my life. I felt sad, a little scared, yet elated at the same time that classes were cancelled for the day.
As the years go by, the magnitude of that devastating day in our history weighs heavier on my heart. Spending 9/11 with my students over the past few years has made it more real. Watching the feelers like myself breaking into tears during the memorial videos on the school announcements, hearing their beautiful free writes in response to the 9/11 poem I use as a warm-up every year on this day, taking the entire block of class time to share, be sad, connect as humans, and not give a damn about whatever lesson I was “supposed” to teach that day. Having Andy, knowing he’ll learn about 9/11 in his Freshman History class, then come home and ask questions of Dan and me. Thinking our tiny world could come crashing down in a split second because of a hate-fueled act. Yet remembering the bravery displayed that day and the beautiful scenes of people binding together in a time of utter tragedy.
I feel the pain of the world when I watch the news and see violence, hatred, and disgusting behavior among the human race. When I see people ranting about some trivial shit, chastising other’s choices, getting worked up about stuff that doesn’t even matter in comparison to the core issues destroying our country it makes me want to scream (totally get it, Janet and Michael), “Quit fucking bitching, get off your ass, and DO SOMETHING!”. I know that I cannot and will not add to the drama, the nonsense, because that does nothing to help make any type of difference. I don’t write the knee-jerk responses that pop into my head, or post my opinions and outrage all over social media, rather I do something. It may be small acts in the grand scheme of things, but I feel good knowing I am at least trying to be a better person and maybe reach someone else along the way. It works for me.
There has just been so much going on lately where it seems we have lost site of this day fifteen years ago, of the war and atrocities that followed, of the social injustices and violence continuing to take place every day all across this country. I know I am a total do-gooder who simply wants people to freaking be nice, every day, not only when it’s trendy or in the face of tragedy. Who wants people to go out and educate themselves on the issues facing our country, then figure out a plan, and fight passionately to make some change rather than whine about it on Facebook (sorry, it’s been killing me lately!).
I know a lot of people brush me off as a dreamer, as some dumb girl who doesn’t know anything with totally unrealistic hopes of peace and unity. I also know there are just as many of you who have the same optimism, who get out there every damn day and do small things that make a huge difference. Who will keep going, continue to focus on the positive, and will make the country a place where we all feel safe, respected, and even loved by our fellow human. I honor you, always.
And I will remember everyday, not solely today, and have promise maybe you can do the same.
Be Good, Do Good