Anniversary of 9/11 drives home lessons

Rob Burkett / Washburn Review

Tomorrow the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, will come and go. Many will spend next Sunday taking in the start of the NFL season.

While there is nothing wrong with spending a weekend living the life of a normal September afternoon, I hope that everyone will take time Sunday to show their respect for those who perished.

To that end, The Review asked in our “Bod on the Street” what memories stuck with people 10 years later. I think it only fair then that I also partake in the sharing and give my thoughts on what many think of as the worst day in American history and the impact it’s had.

I recall that morning waking up to my aunt Carolyn shaking me awake. She told me that a plane had crashed into a building in New York City. I came upstairs half awake wondering what had happened.

As I sat down on the couch, I listened as Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s “Today Show” described what I was looking at on the screen. About the time that Lauer started talking about the structural integrity of the building, I looked up and saw the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. I immediately thought of all the people on board those planes and the tragic loss of life that was occurring right before my eyes.

As the morning wore on reports began to break about another plane hitting the Pentagon in Washington D.C..

That particular event hit home for me personally. My father at that time was living in the northern Virginia area and worked in the District of Columbia. The truly frightening part was that on his daily commute, he would pick up a connecting bus at the stop in front of the Pentagon. That morning, he was in the company of his dentist having gone in to get a routine cleaning. Its probably the closest to having a nervous wreck that I’ve ever experienced, not knowing where my father was or if he was okay.

As the day continued to progress I went to work and listen to President Bush talk about what had occurred.

Now, as I reflect back on that day, A few things come to mind. The effects that 9/11 had on our day-to-day lives. I am old enough to remember when you could go to a Kansas City Royals game and no one would blink an eye at someone carrying a diaper bag or purse into a game. I remember when going to the airport required you to put your bag through the X-ray machine but you didn’t have to show an ID or take off your shoes, belt and empty your pockets just to get into the terminal.

What I most remember in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was the general feeling of community. At the time I worked in a service industry job and had become used to people treating me with a very “I’m better than you” attitude. After that day, for the next several weeks people seemed more prone to say thanks and not take each other for granted.

That is the real message I will always take away from that day. Ten years have passed and I hope that people will remember that being decent to each other is a lesson that can’t be forgotten. From all of that human tragedy, we should always remember that life and loved ones could be gone in the blink of an eye.