September 11, 2001 – September 11, 2011 In Remembrance of 9/11

Ten years ago today, our sense of security was shattered instantly – the time it took passenger jets controlled by suicide bombers to crash into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.

It was one of the moments in history where you will always remember what you were doing when you heard the news.  When I arrived home from class, a friend was standing in my living room, her eyes glued to the TV screen. “Oh my God!” she cried, “The world is ending.”

I stared at replay of the film footage of planes crashing into the World Trade Center disintegrating 110-floors of metal and concrete, leaving 3051 children without a parent, and destroying the lives of thousands of families.

Terrorism. Live. Direct. In our homeland. At our hearth. In a heartbeat.

Suddenly we are all thrown into a real life horror show.

Yet no matter how many times we heard and saw the televised broadcast, we remained frozen in disbelief.

Even though, I lived far away in Geneva, home of world’s greatest peacekeeping organizations, and in a safe environment in a neutral country, the news stunned my international community of globetrotters. That year, my English class students at a Swiss international school wrote to the children of the UN school in New York, whose students lost family in the bombing.

Today, a decade after 9/11, my new students can’t remember a world without terror. They all know someone who knows someone, who was at the wrong spot at the wrong time in Bali, Jakarta, London, Paris, New York.

Today, even the most seasoned travelers step on the plane with trepidation. And anyone with a conscience wonders, what kind of world are we leaving our children? A world where commercial flights become deadly human missiles, where buildings dissolve like sand castles in the storm, and where innocent lives are annihilated in the blink of an eye.

The Ground Zero monuments, museum and 10th anniversary commemorations offer a tribute to the families of victims of 9/11 and to the American spirit of resiliency. As we take a moment of silence to reflect and honor the men and women who perished during the attack or rescue mission, may be we also say a prayer for those people of other lands who have also lost loved ones in the fall out of terrorism.

One of my former students was 12-years-old when her mom died in the bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi. She wrote about it in class.

“When they told me, I was so upset I tried to run through a glass door. Now I write until my fingers bleed.”

Alone at night we still shake, terrified and powerless to curtail the madness of our 21st century world; together in the light of day, we stand tall and reach out in small steps. Healing begins in our homeland, at our hearth, in a heartbeat.


Comments

  1. Kathleen Pooler

    Dear Pat,
    What a touching,heartfelt tribute that says everything I would ever want to say to honor the memory of all those we lost as well as the resiliency of the American spirit. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Beautiful.

    1. Pat McKinzie

      Yes, as a country we have so much to be proud of…especially our spirit and our willingness to unite during tough times. Were living on the East Coast at the time?

  2. Clara

    Pat-
    I relived all of the terror from 9/11 and from survivor students of other countries through your words! So many lives taken. So many dream gone unrealized. And the children and families left behind (torture)

    I was in a patient’s room giving medication when the first plane hit. I ran out to the nursing station and staff were gathered around in shock, going in & out of patient’s rooms to watch again and again, the replay of planes crashing into The World Trade Center…

    Clara.

    1. Pat McKinzie

      Like for all of us, I am sure it is a day that will never be forgotten. Since then, security procedures may seem extreme to European visitors to our country, but I know I always feel extra safe (and welcome) when I land in the Windy City.

  3. Karen Carlson

    Thank you sista!
    This horrific event was the final surge I needed to return to school to pursue the dream of teaching. I remember thinking, we truly do not know what tomorrow will bring, so no more wondering if…..just DO IT!
    I started classes the following January. I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday, like so many others!

  4. Lynne Spreen

    Beautiful post. I was moved especially by the part about the girl from Nairobi trying to run through the door and then finding an alternative but still passionate way to vent her emotions. Today is Sept. 12. Looks like we made it.

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