September 10, 2011

9/11...a view from an Aussie

There are things happen in our life that we will always remember where we were and what we were doing at the time. September 11th 2001 was one of those days.

We had just moved into a new house. We that is, except my husband who was back in America visiting his family. The children were all in bed and I was on the computer chatting with friends from all over the world. One of my friends mentioned that a plane had just hit the world trade centre. I was asking questions like "Was it a small plane? What was it doing so close to the buildings?" etc. He of course wasn't able to answer the questions I was asking then all of a sudden he said "Another plane!!! Another plane has hit!!!"

I then informed the other friends I was talking to what had happened and left the computer to watch TV. I thought for sure it would have made it to the 24hr news station in Australia....and it had.

I sat up all night watching, and crying, in shock. I needed to talk to somebody but who? Everyone I knew in Australia would be asleep. So I sat on my bed sobbing and alone. I couldn't call my husband because he was at a hotel somewhere in Vegas and this was way before we had the convenience of mobile phones.

I watched with horror as the first tower collapsed.....then the next.

I seriously needed to talk to someone and NOW!!!

By this time is was a respectable time to call my friend in I did. She answered the phone all cheery so I knew she knew nothing about what was going on. I told her to turn the TV on. She asked "why?". I responded with "Girl, you've just lost the world trade centre!!!!" With that she turned on the television and all efforts for her to get ready for worked stopped. I was glad to finally talk to someone but it could only last a short while because she did have to get to work.

Again I sat watching the screen.

I continued to watch the screen for many days that followed. My children were all young and don't remember much except 'mum was freaking out and was always watching tv'....and it's pretty much true. My husband was due to fly home any day but now all flights were grounded and I couldn't get a hold of him to at least discuss this.

Finally I did get a hold of my husband and he arrived home only days after his was supposed to.

How did my life change because of this horror?

Well I learned more about Islam because I was afraid. I was afraid because the stories focussed on the terrorists being Muslim and we were an 'American family' with a Jewish surname, living in a community surrounded by Muslims. I wanted to know more so I asked...I didn't ask Catholics about Islam...I asked those who follow Islam about it.

I had a neighbour who was so lovely and brought over a plate of treats for us because she knew my husband was American and she couldn't think of what else to do. Not only that but a year later on the anniversary she came over again with a plate of treats because she knew I'd be thinking about it. What a kind, thoughtful gesture. I have tried to be a little more thoughtful like my kind neighbour.

I am more fearful. I jump at little things. I worry more. I don't take my security for granted wherever I am. And I especially don't like planes now whether I am the one flying or a loved one of mine.

I rely heavily on my faith. I believe there is a God who loves us and in His son, Jesus Christ. People have said "If there is a God why did he let this happen??!!" Well I believe that God has given all man their agency to act as they choose. With that comes those who choose to act in evil ways. If God stopped men from acting in their evil way then He would be taking away their agency and therefore couldn't be judged for them when they stand before God on judgement day. A great example of this is found in scripture in the story of Alma and Amulek as they watched women and children being thrown into a fire because they believed in God.

This year as the anniversary rolls around, I will be watching very little about 9/11. I believe my children should so they will watch with my husband. But I cannot. My heart isn't strong enough....even though I wasn't there. I weep at the TV commercials of shows that will be shown. I just can't do it.

Where were you when you heard about or saw the planes hitting the building? Has your life changed because of it?


momofsomja said...

Thanks for sharing this. I too, will never forget that day. I will never forget my husband calling me to our living room saying "A plane just hit the world trade center." My thoughts were very much the same "How did the pilot get so off track?" Etc. Then as we watched the smoke and fire, off in the corner the second plane approached and we turned to each other and said in unison "That was not a mistake!" We were horrified and stood their feeling vulnerable and frightened. What would be next? I will never forget watching as people made a decision between burning and jumping and we watched their last moments as they fell! The broadcasters were so somber. There was nothing any of us could do! Such a horrible day!

I also find myself more alert, more suspicious. And then the guilt for wondering if the Muslim or Islam person or even the white man with a hoody and a big back pack is really only in the store buying bread. I never thought such things before! I know that when I go to a public place I look for somewhere to hide my children or think about how I could cover them with my body if a shooter came into the park. I think we all changed that day. But life must go on. And paralyzing us with fear is just as damaging to this nation as their actual attacks. May God bless us as we remember this day in history, and may it always stay in history.

Wendy said...

It is important to remember. Yet another sorrowful day that we proclaim 'Lest we forget'.

I don't know who it was who said it at the time, but I felt it all the way in Australia, "We are all Americans. We are all New Yorkers." That's how we felt at the time. It was a great feeling. As if we were one.