9/11 is always a very peculiar day for me in these times. I woke up this morning to a very surreal feeling knotted in my stomach in a way that is indescribable. Last year, I spent my 9/11 scorning America for playing the Red State/Blue State game instead of getting real work done post-Katrina. To this day, we still worry way to much about Left vs. Right instead of Right vs. Wrong.
Today is five years later from the day I woke up to Jud banging on my door at 09:30. You see I was a Junior at UGA and was enjoying an easy day off from class from my Intro to Economics professor. We had a test that Thursday and he gave us Tuesday off to study.
Jud mumbled something through the door that sounded something like:
J: "Hey man, I don't mean to alarm you, but you might want to get up for this. I think the country is under attack."
K: "Look, I don't want to be bothered and that's low to make shit up just to get me out of bed."
J: "Hey, I play around about a lot of shit, but if you think I'm lying about this, then you can go fuck yourself."I'd guess I'd better get up.
I was like everyone else that morning. I was just a confused soul who could've never imagined what was happening. Every 20 minutes it seemed something else was going wrong. I got a call from my dad who told me that if it got worse, I should hop in the car and head to south Georgia where we used to own land. We could camp next to the spring-fed pond where we would have fresh water to drink. It'd be the last place people would want to destroy.
I never contemplated HAVING to live off the land. Ever.
My emotions were jilted, my brain frazzled, and I couldn't imagine tomorrow. Have you ever been so jaded that you couldn't see past this very second and not a second farther? "Frozen" would be an ideal word to use.
I've never been accused of being the most serious person at a party or function. I've never been accused of being careless either, but I have danced along the line of the fun never stopping. I was forced to grow up a lot that day. I was forced to imagine what it would be like if I couldn't finish college because who knew if we were looking down the barrel of more attacks and possibly WORSE attacks. What if THIS was the appetizer?
I became something more than a citizen that day. I became an American. After the immediate danger passed I realized there is a far greater world outside of my own and I needed to be more conscious of it. I spent more time listening to my elected officials, I started watching Fox News for fun, and I started listening to talk radio. Granted, those things aren't on the level of donning a uniform and fighting for my country, but it's something. I took pride in being more informed and having an opinion. Besides, I know my attitude and my temper. I can't be in the military. It just isn't for me. At least I'm not making excuses about it.
That day I became cognizant of the sacrifices of those in the past, present, and near future. I also became mad as hell at ignorance now that I had been personally affected by it. Other than my accent, no one has ever held anything against me. I'm white, male, and a Christian. I hadn't had anyone hate me and want to kill those around me. This event was as close to home as it got.
I'll be brutally honest. I still don't care that much for New York. I'm too "small town" to ever live in and around it. But no one place or city deserved that. No one in the Pentagon deserved to be hit with a plane. And 44 people should not have faced the choice that those brave few faced on United 93. It just wasn't fair and continues to be that way.
This morning I woke up anxiously awaiting the replay of 96 Rock's Regular Guy's show from 9/11. I wanted the shock all over again. I needed it. I liked having that empty feeling in my stomach again. You know why? Because it means I still know what it feels like to appreciate what you have around you. I wish we never needed a wake up call, but I got the one I anxiously awaited this morning.
And I'm a better person for it.
There are so many that gave their life and WILL GIVE their life as a direct result of what happened on a Tuesday five VERY LONG years ago. I'd love to have my 9/10 life back, but trust me, I wouldn't have appreciated it nearly as much as my 9/12 life.
We should all take advantage of what we have today. As a country, we bicker, bitch, whine, piss and moan, but at the end of the day, we should know where we stand.
There's no solid way to end a blog like this. There's nothing I could say that could be profound or make your life any different than it was today, but I shouldn't have to. Everything you need to see can be found in 4 locations around the country. One in PA, one at the Pentagon, and two empty spaces in the heart of NY.
Don't worry about "never forgetting." We need to focus all our efforts into "starting to remember."
Until next time kids.