We are the generation that was built on a heart broken nation.
I know millennials get a bad rap, but let’s talk about our childhood for a hot second.
We remember life before technology took over the world. Most of us didn’t have cell phones until we were middle school/high school. We remember dial up internet and the frustration of having to wait to use the computer because Momma and Aunt were on the phone chatting. (Yes that is experience talking here.)
Most of us remember the whole Y2K bug and the “panic” that ensued because it was the end of the world!!! **If only we knew then how 2020 was going to go. **
Everyone talks about the nostalgia of being a 90’s kid, but when you think back to it, our generation grew up in an ever changing world and had to constantly keep up with said changes.
None more so than what we went through 19 years ago today.
I remember bits and pieces, being a fourth grader at the time, but it wasn’t until right before the final bell of school that I even knew anything was wrong.
I remember going to my Aunt and Uncle’s (I think) house after school with Momma and Bubba and hanging out with Marriah in her brother’s room. We were just kid’s…we knew something was wrong, but I don’t think we really KNEW the life long effects it would have on us.
One of those effects is my brother’s decision to join the military, specifically the United States Marine Corps. We were raised as children of a police officer so he always had a sense of duty. But he made the decision at 16 to join, spent a year as a poolee, early enlisted at 17, then shipped out to boot camp 3 weeks after graduating high school (15 days after turning 18) as a result of this tragedy. He was only 6 years old when the Towers fell, the Pentagon was struck, and the nation stopped. 6! But he will tell you that 9/11 was one of the deciding factors on joining the military for him. He remembers the fear on our parents faces and wondering why. He remembers the siege of Baghdad. He remembers the emotions that those pictures burned into his head. He tells me it’s what pushed him to join the military, but it’s also what pushed him to success during boot camp. He says he remembers the drive he felt to get through so that he could “be over there and dish out some good, old fashioned, American punishment”.
We as a nation stood united. We as a nation wept. We as a nation bled red, white, and blue.
We as a nation grieved.
Grieving comes in many forms. (I mean there is a whole 5 step process)
Some people were immediately angry. And some sad. Some were instantly in shock and denial, while some were just numb.
I didn’t have anyone in the Towers or Pentagon that day that I knew personally, at the time. I still can not even fathom what millions of people went through not knowing if their loved one had made it out safely or if their first responder was on scene.
But I know the pain of losing someone in the prime of their life.
Grief is different for all of us, but it all boils down to the hurt and pain of not having that person on the earth with us. It’s even hard to wrap your head around some days. There are moments were I still cannot believe that Marriah is gone…that I can’t call her or text her….or hug her neck…or hear her laugh at my stupid faux Russian accent.
Grief sometimes can change the course of our lives in ways you couldn’t even fathom before. That’s part of the journey too, I guess. It’s part of what molds us, shapes us into who we are today.
9/11 did that for everyone in our nation. 9/11 did that for my brother and his career path. 9/11 did that for every single person who lost a loved one in those planes, in the Towers, in the Pentagon, and in that Pennsylvanian field. 9/11 did that for every single person who loved a first responder and knew that they were the ones running towards the wreckage, while so many fled.
Marriah was so proud of Bubba and his service to our country. She was one of his biggest prayer warriors and cheerleaders. I missed her calming logic and her “pray with out ceasing” attitude while he was deployed. She is guardian angel now, but that doesn’t always bring me the comfort that it should.
That’s ok. That’s part of my grief journey and my crisis of faith.
The world may have stopped turning on that September day, but when you lose a loved one it stops turning every time you think about them.
Thoughts and prayers go out to all the families that lost loved ones on this day 19 years ago. I promise you that we haven’t forgotten.
Love you always. Miss you forever, Sunflower. 🌻
Credits: “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning”
Artist: Alan Jackson
Written: Alan Jackson