Never Forget

Every year, in Lubbock, there is a flag display to honor all who were lost on September 11th, 2001. Every year, my wife, my kids, and I all go out to pay our respects. This is something that I will continue to do for as long as I am allowed.

 

Where were you?

As long as I am of sound mind, I cannot foresee that I will ever forget where I was on 9/11/2001. I was a junior in high school. I remember walking into my second-period class with Van Gravitt and he had the television on in the corner and as people entered the room we all continued to gather around the TV and watch with disbelief. It wasn’t real. It was a hoax. There is no way that this is really happening.

The first tower collapsed. I saw it. I didn’t believe it. But, I knew, deep down, that what I was seeing was real. What on earth is going on? People are jumping out of the tower! The second tower is collapsing.

Next thing I remember, my parents are at the school. Do I need to go home? I don’t think so. I’m numb. I’m in shock. It’s better if I just stay here.

Government was my next class. Maybe Coach Lanier will have some answers. What? We’re not staying in class. We’re going to walk across the street to his house to continue watching the news as things are happening. The Pentagon was hit too? I cannot comprehend this.

Now I’m at home. I literally do not know what to do with myself. I go in the back yard and look at the sky. How is it that nothing seems wrong? To find some kind of anchor in reality, Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” is playing on repeat in my head. I break down. I cry. I don’t believe this.

What does this video mean?

As I said, my family and I go out to this memorial every year. It always brings tears to my eyes. Having children changes it, though. the video features my son and my niece.

For me, there are three emotional elements to the video: Sadness, Power, and Hope.

Sadness

There will always be a sadness and a lack of understanding, for me, when I remember those dark times. We were attacked, many innocent lives were lost, and many heroic lives were given.

 

Power

The red, white, and blue of Ole Glory has an energy. It inspires a sense of purpose and a sense of determination. Regardless of a candy-coated culture that has attempted to be built and is falling apart, this flag means unity, and it is a unity that we all witnessed and felt on and after 9/11/2001 and have felt again amidst these hurricanes that have been causing so much pain, recently.

 

Hope

With the children in the video, it’s an interesting juxtaposition. Among these flags that represent all the lives that were lost and given sixteen years ago, something new and something wonderful finds it’s place. These children have their innocence, and it is an innocence that so many of us lost when our great country was attacked. I pray to God that our children never experience the horror that we all felt.

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