Monday, September 11, 2017

Two Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-Four

It's almost an afterthought.

I say almost because for many, the memories are still fresh in their minds. They're haunting. And I can only imagine that some still do not look forward to this day on the calendar.

I look at it now, sixteen years later, and life has moved on.

It only dawned on me about what today was after listening to the radio and the hosts paused from the middle of talking about yesterday's NFL action to talk about what they were doing on that fateful day. They were just a year into their radio partnership and when the first plane hit at 7:46 AM CST, they thought it was a joke. It was only after the second one struck the World Trade Center minutes later that they knew that something was horribly wrong.

But I think about today. Both of my children are in high school. My daughter is in her final year and is looking forward to college. She was just over a year old when it happened. My son wasn't even born.

In school, they learn about the events of September 11, 2001. It's a history lesson for them. They learn about what happened based on what is written on a page, what they see on a video, what they read online. It is sad yes. The chain of events, the heightened awareness, security at the airport, the news, all of it, is normal to them.

But prior to what happened sixteen years ago, it wasn't.

We weren't always at war. We didn't need to take our shoes off at the airports. We didn't have to worry about our safety to that extreme.

I wrote the words below in 2011. For that article, and when I re-ran the story since, I used the total number of people I had heard to have died due to the events of that day, not including those who heinously perpetrated the attacks. That number was 2,974. Depending on where you read it, it could have been 2,977. Tallies since then have brought the number up to 2,980. But regardless of the number, that's too many lives lost.

Every year, I try to come back and honor the memories of the people for whom this country still mourns, and think how the events on that fateful day changed the course of American history, sixteen years since. By the time this posts goes live, it is nightfall...sixteen years after that the final plane crashed in a field somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Two thousand nine hundred seventy-four.


That's the number of people who lost their lives when everything was finally taken into account. Countless lives were affected by this national tragedy. Even if you didn't know anybody on those planes, at the World Trade Center, or the Pentagon, you grieved along with those who did. You stood there in shock, in a daze, just glued to the television or radio.

Our lives have not been the same since. My daughter, now eleven, asks what we (her parents) were doing that morning. "We were just going about our lives," was my reply. "We watched the morning news, getting ready for work, and couldn't believe what we were seeing on the screen." She was just over a year old. She couldn't have understood what was going on then. But she will learn that what she sees as "normal" now, really wasn't before that Tuesday morning.

Two thousand nine hundred seventy-four. It is the number of reasons why we never forget what happened sixteen years ago today.

On this day, the sixteenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, my family and I send our prayers to those who lost loved ones that Tuesday morning. We pray, and will continue to pray for:

the children who lost their parents that day.

the children who would never meet their fathers because of the events of that day.

the firefighters and policemen and women who risk their lives doing their jobs, running into the face of dangers as many are running in the opposite direction.

those servicemen and women fighting for our freedoms away from home, whether or not we agree with the conflicts they battle.

for our leaders, regardless of their affiliation, that they make the right choices to keep the citizens of our country, and others, safe.

And finally, we pray for peace. Peace amongst ourselves as family, as a community, as a nation.


JayBee Anama

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