Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Drawing Wisdom from the Tragedy of 9/11"

A financial article this morning takes a retrospective look at 9/11 seven years ago. I'm sitting where I was sitting then. Earlier in the morning, NPR had reported something about the World Trade Center and, I thought, why are they talking about 1993?

A little later, watching CNBC, I watched the second plane hit. Only then did we even surmise that it might be something more than a small plane that hit the first tower. I was away from everything but the radio news most of the day and people panicking about gas prices and gas shortages made me wish I hadn't left town with less than half a tank of gas earlier that day. I was with my best friend that day and she headed home with a sense of disbelief of what had happened on what we thought was just another normal day.

Those lost and their families and friends are still in our thoughts and prayers. I thank God that there hasn't been another similar attack since that fateful day. Only much later from now will we actually find out how many attempts were actually made - both big and small - and how they were thwarted. That's the part of history that can't be revealed until much later, if ever at all.

I grew up during the Cold War and was a high school history teacher when the Berlin Wall came crumbling down as the physical symbol of the end of the Cold War. The students in my classes today are barely old enough to remember 9/11 except that they talked about it in school. The world has changed so much. I grew up knowing who the enemy was and that they were over "there" (Soviet Union). After 9/11, we know they can be anywhere. Living in a rural area and not anywhere near a major population center provides some sense of safety but none of us ever knows.

Tears came to my eyes as they just had a moment of silence on the stock exchange and in Washington DC to remember the time the first plane hit. We are so lucky to be living in America.

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