Monday, May 2, 2011

Another Where Were You When Moment


Today's news about the elimination of America's public enemy number one brings to mind another day that I will never forget, September 11, 2001. As you know, on that day the world changed and most likely will never be the same. 


On that day I found myself in Chicago, Illinois. The previous day was my travel day so even to this day I wonder what could have happened had I made arrangements to fly on the Monday morning rather then the Sunday afternoon. I was in training with a group of Americans from all over the United States. I was the only Canadian there. When we heard of the first plane hitting the first tower, we all went to a common room with a television and together saw the second plane hit and the collapse of the two towers along with the attack on the Pentagon and of course the other downed plane that through the courage of some brave souls prevented the unnecessary death of more innocent people. Obviously we were stunned into silence. I remember a helpless feeling wash over me as I watched the screen and the silence in the room was deafening. Then the fear set in. Fear of the unknown. 

What the hell was happening? Who did this? What else was coming? What are the other targets? Is my family safe? Is this the end or just the beginning? Years later we're still trying to answer those questions. One of the strangest and most emotional things I've experienced happened that evening. We were all in the hotel bar and we were trying to make sense of the day. The music was on but only to serve as a distraction - nobody was in the mood to dance or joke around. Suddenly a song came on and everyone kind of stopped and started to sing. The  song was Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA". 


Being Canadian, I had never even heard of the song let alone heard the lyrics. As I listened to the words and the voices of the people trying to choke their tears as they sang loud and proudly, I realized something had come over me. I forgot I was Canadian - I felt American. I felt violated and I felt my way of life had been attacked that day. I became American. You really had to be there. I've heard that song a few times since then and though it still moves me, it's never hit me as hard as it did that day. 

Regardless of your political stripe or whose God you follow - innocent people do not deserve to die in any country for religious reasons. Attacking the towers served to wake a sleeping giant that day and change a lot of the things we've taken for granted for so long. Even though the world is rid of the evil that brought that destruction to the American shores, his legacy will continue to inspire more like minded individuals which again means our world will probably never be the same. However, I believe good will triumph and the righteous will prevail. It always and always will. God Bless America and God help us all. 


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