American

While I love having adventures in Europe with all of my heart, I’m still an American.

So today, I will talk about 9.11.2011.

I was fourteen, sitting in homeroom when the news hit. I did not care about the news generally, so I missed the first footage. It wasn’t until everyone else was silent and my teacher started freaking out that I started paying attention. So everyone saw the footage before I did.

My English teacher played “God Bless the U.S.A.” on repeat all day long at school for about two weeks after that. Or at least it felt like two weeks.

To be honest, I didn’t really understand it at the time. Fourteen is confusing enough without unprecedented world events blowing your entire country’s mind.

What I didn’t get then, and still don’t get, is the kind of hatred that fuels an attack like that. I’m a pretty (read extremely) passionate person, and there have definitely been some people on this earth that I would rather were flung into space, but I cannot imagine the kind of hate that leads someone to kill thousands of random, unoffending people. I can’t imagine it. And I’m a writer. Imagination is my job.

It felt like something out of a film. I mean, look at that shot. It looks like a still from Independence Day or 2012. But it was real life.

But you have to admit, the effects weren’t all bad. America was more united than it had been…probably since before the Civil War, honestly. For a short time, we all believed in the same thing.

I wish it had been longer than a short time. Americans all over are posting the words “Never Forget” today. But I’m not sure they are all remembering the right part. The sacrifice, the humanity, the humility, and the gratitude. That’s what we should never forget. Not the hate, not the fear. And definitely not the urge for revenge. Those are what caused such a heinous act of terrorism.

My dearest wish in the entire world is for people to stop taking offense at each other. People see the world differently than you. So what? What really matters?

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