Friday, September 12, 2014

9/11 Never Forget

September 11th. 
Always a solemn day of looking back in reverence, honor and respect for those sacrificed so much on that day. Makes me take a longer moment than usual to thank Heavenly Father for my life and family and to be grateful for our freedom and PROUD to be an American. My own family visited the twin towers in August 2001- just 3 weeks before the attacks. 

(Could these three look any different??)

Yesterday I was so reflective of the events that occurred 13 years ago- I'm not sure why it hit me so hard. I think it was because I was watching this documentary while I was working out at the gym that was pretty powerful. It brought back many of the same feelings I had when I was 16 years old and watching the events take place live in NYC and Pennsylvania. I actually was trying to hold back tears while on the treadmill. 

It's so hard to believe that was THIRTEEN years ago. Makes sense cause there's three little boys yelling/crying for me right now so obviously, I'm not 16 anymore. :) There's not many days of my childhood/teenage years where I remember the entire day super clear but 9/11/01 is one of those days. I remember driving to early morning seminary at 6 am in my 1992 silver camry while it was still dark with the sun just barely starting to rise. I was by myself and I was listening to the radio (99.5 KIMM FM) on Sandario Rd, almost to the high school, when the announcer said that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. This was said without any urgency or importance and so I assumed it was a small private plane and felt bad for the guy who (somehow?) crashed in such a big city. Then about 45 min. later in seminary, one of the dads interrupted class and pulled his sons out and took them home. He said something bad has happened in NYC with plane crashes and to go home and watch the news. We were all confused but just continued on. Then in first hour the TV was on and suddenly, the impact of the events hit everyone like a ton of bricks and we started to realized how huge and horrible and awful this really was- we were attacked by terrorists on our very own soil!! The TVs were on in every single class, all day long and no work was done. I actually was one of the few teenagers in my high school that had a cell phone. You weren't allowed to use it but on this day, it seemed like all rules didn't apply. I called my mom out in the commons area, just needing to talk to her and be reassured like a little kid. I asked about my uncle who worked on wall street and about my aunts and cousins. They were all fine and thankfully, my uncle was stranded in South America on business but was fine. After that day, the way our little Marana community and our nation pulled together was truly remarkable and wish I could convey into words how we felt about our country at that time to those who were too young. There also were a lot of fear about the future. I envisioned all the young men my age going off to war, just like in times past and it was the topic among all my high school friends. But the most comforting thing of all was President Hinckley's message given that same day and his General Conference talk in October 2001. It was full of peace, comfort, counsel and faith and exactly what the world needed to hear. 

To read excerpts of our prophet's words at that time, click here.

After thinking about that day all day yesterday, I attribute my increase in these type of emotional feelings towards 9/11 for two reasons: being a mom and being an ER nurse. 

Obviously, being a mom I wonder what I'd do if a terrorist attack, natural disaster, government collapse or a hundred other scenarios happened, especially if my kids were at school or we were somehow apart. The instinct to protect would be overpowering. I think about TJ commuting to SLC everyday and how all those spouses at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon commuted daily. My heart goes out to them and losing their loved ones. I think there was even a day care at the Pentagon?? How horribly scary is that? Many of the air traffic controllers had spouses working at the Pentagon as well, who literally watched  on screen as the plane stopped responding and dropped communication until the actual crash into the Pentagon itself. It's just so awful that it was men who chose so selfishly to cause these destructive events that impacted an entire nation- not something out of our control like a hurricane or an earthquake. Wicked men who are full of hate, greed and anger that rip apart families and break hearts of so many innocent, while Satan laughed and helped. 

And the ER nurse part- every single shift at work, I rub shoulders with paramedics, firefighters and police. We work side by side with these first responders- we're on the same team. We're friends and need each other, not just to do our job, but to literally, save lives. All the NYC first responders could've ran away to save themselves, stayed away from the twin towers and helped those outside on the ground instead, stating the buildings were unsafe to enter. So many literally sacrificed their lives to try to save others. It's so touching and unselfish and Christlike. So many left behind their own families with little children. There were so many pictures of funerals where small children are holding their mom or dad's helmet or uniform. That just rips at your heart and makes me hold my babies a little closer. 

One of my nursing instructors at ASU was a charge nurse at one of the main hospitals in Manhattan. She said the entire hospital immediately transferred all their patients out and frantically made room for all the victims that would be coming. And then they sat and waited... and waited.... but the mass of people never came. They were all killed. Can you imagine what that would've been like??!

One thing that struck me is something that the director of all air traffic control (I don't know his title but basically the head honcho of all airplanes and an important guy) was talking about how miraculous it was that they were able to land 1,100 airplanes in 3 hours. Something that was never heard of, let alone done before. He mentioned that the sole reason why they were able to do that so quickly was because of perfect, clear weather throughout all of United States and Canada. There weren't any fog or storms anywhere on that morning. What a tender mercy that is! You know Heavenly Father's heart was breaking along side all the rest of us, unable to force anyone to do anything against their agency. We suffer sorrow and pain here on earth. Yet he ALWAYS sends tender mercies to show he is there and aware of us. I know that is so true and learned it so well with Dallin's accident. You just have to look for them. And it's so touching to me to find them! 

So on this 9/11, I just want to express my gratitude to all those who sacrificed so much as well as how important it is to REMEMBER these type of experiences. Throughout the Book of Mormon, the prophets exhort us to remember so many things but mostly of our Savior Jesus Christ and to have faith in Him, who will carry us through anything and everything that comes our way. The Nephites' entire problem was that they forgot so quickly, which led to pride and ultimately, to their downfall. I know that remembering is important and helps us be humble, charitable and Christlike. I wish I was better at writing and able to express my thoughts better but this will have to do. :)

**I just wanted to record some of my thoughts of feelings because it hit me that there are kids growing up that don't really remember 9/11 or were even born yet! My little brother Tanner wasn't born yet and my sisters in high school were little kids/toddlers. I think it's important for the younger generation to hear the stories of the past, just as it's important for our generation to listen to those who experienced WWII, assassination of JFK, man on the moon, etc. So this is for my own kids and younger siblings, as a little record in my insignificant life as to events past. :)

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