Thing 1 was 4 years old by a mere 3 days and Thing 2 was 6 months old. They have zero recollection of it, as they shouldn't given those ages. But me? I can cry just typing these words. It was so horrible, so destructive. And it changed everything.
I feel sad that they will never live in the America I knew Before.
An America where you could run through the airport at the last minute and make your flight. No x-rays, no scans. Where you could meet friends having a layover for drinks, or just go and watch planes land and take off. Now the airport, the symbol of modern transportation at it's finest, is just a major pain in the ass. There is no joy in air travel anymore.
An America where there isn't a scroll running across the bottom of your screen constantly, trying to divide your attention between what you are watching and whatever they feel like tacking on to the bottom. It was used for important things before. The Kardashians are not important.
An America that wasn't filled with hate and fear.
There are loads of other places that experienced terrorist attacks before we did, but until it happened to us, on a massive scale, we were happily living in our little bubble of denial.
And afterwards it seems that our biggest, most permanent take-away was "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
Politicians don't invoke 9/11 because they feel like making the world a better place. They do it to make everyone afraid. We haven't had an attack of anything approaching that magnitude since, but a very important lesson was learned by the powers that be in America.
Fear motivates. In ways only previously dreamed about.
So we have been told to remain in a constant state of fear for the last 15 years. Fear of "others." Fear of "different." Fear of "them" even if we aren't sure who "they" are. Fear of mushroom clouds and dirty bombs and a world filled with 1.5 billion Muslims.
Turns out that at the 1 year anniversary of 9/11 I had somewhere to be, so I flew. Then in 2003 The Hubs and I left the kids and went to London. Our visit coincided with the anti-war marches that millions took part in around the world. As we flew in Heathrow, the British troops arrived because there had been a threat to shoot an incoming plane, and then mid-trip, Colin Powell appeared in American TV to tell all Americans to purchase plastic and duct tape, "just in case" they need to make a safe room. We went back this past fall, just days after the Paris attacks.
I don't want my kids to live always feeling like they need to be afraid. Therefore, I will not be afraid and I will not model fear for them. And if I die in a terrorist attack, that will certainly suck, but it will also suck to live my life afraid and tucked away inside my house waiting for some horror that never comes.
I will not use 9/11 as a tool to scare people, to demand some sort of political alliance out of anyone, or for, GOD FORBID, the inevitable "white sale" and BBQ excuse it will be reduced to in another 15 years.
I will honor those who did not get the chance to live a full and happy life that day by living a full and happy life, free from fear.