Its 9/11. I had originally thought to sit down this morning and talk about how I am working to motivate myself in numerous ways and means. In stead it seems more appropriate to spend a little time remembering.
On 09/11/2001 I was camping at a campground near Pincecrest Lake, CA. It was early morning still, and there was a large group of us in various stages of our own early morning routines. Someone started making coffee. Someone started making some eggs. I don't even remember the names of most of the people who were there. But I'll never forget the way that morning turned out.
The campground host came around to each campsite at about 9:30. He was somewhat frantic. His eyes were wide and his face was pale. At that time of the morning, when the campground host comes stomping into the site, in such a chaotic state, one can only wonder what is going through his head. And why was it so important to be coming to us at such an early hour on a spring morning. It was obviously important. It was obviously bad. And as far as I know, no one should have the look he wore on his face when camping in the mountains of California on what looks like a late summer morning.
The group of us then sat in awe, shock, and confusion as he told us a passenger plane had collided with the World Trade Center.
From that point on, our world changed. Strangely though, we were somewhat distant from the changes that took place. We spent three more days camping there. It didn't seem necessary for us to simply rush home because the catastrophic event. There was nothing any of us could do, and it didn't affect any of us at work, and so we stayed. One of our friends had a small TV we pulled out, hoping to catch the news and actually see what was happening. At that time, it appeared to be nothing more than a freak accident of horrific proportions. We pulled out the TV, found a plug to power it, and found we couldn't get a picture. It was scrambled. Apparently the Sierra's are a bad place to try and get TV reception on a small and portable TV. But we had sound. And we sat and listened in horror as the events of the day unfolded.
I could probably spend the next few days retelling the different emotions that took hold of us. I cold spend even longer trying to recap the conversations that took place over the remainder of the day. But it still didn't seem real. It still didn't seem like this had really happened. Over the course of a day, close to 3,000 people had died. People who had just gone to work, like they did Monday through Friday. They weren't bad people, they were just there.
A few days later, I was driving home, headed north on I-5 through Sacramento. And as I re-entered civilization, that is when things really became real, when things really struck home. I was headed toward an over pass and what I saw there will be the image I remember most about 9/11.
What I can only assume was a father and son duo, were standing on the sidewalk of the overpass. They were on the side of the bridge that made them visible to everyone headed north that morning. Both were waving large American flags, together. It was a simple act. It was a selfless act. It was the feeling every single person across the nation had.
It was unity. It was pride. It was sorrow. It was anger. It was despair. It was American. And over the course of the next few weeks, the nation, I included, watched as we picked ourselves back up. People came together like never before. And probably for the first time in a long time, we were one nation united, and we were proud of it.
When I got home, the TV was flooded with images and videos of what had happened. I can say I remember clearly some of the video footage that was played, over and over. But even more impressed upon me, was that father and son, standing on a bridge on the opposite side of the nation,waving those flags in the early morning sunshine. For those two people, whom I'll never know their names, I am grateful.
When I think of that day, I don't remember the collisions with the towers, not anywhere near as much as I remember two solitary people atop a bridge near Sacramento waving flags in the air in a show patriotism and pride.
I don't know anyone who was there that day. Neither deceased nor survivor. I don't know anyone who was there over the course of what seemed like years trying to help in any way possible. But I know I am sad for those that died. I relieved for those that survived. And I am grateful to those that gave their service in one of the greatest times of need this country has ever faced.
So remembering is remembering. Take a moment, think about it, and hopefully it still affects you today just as much as it did ten years ago.