On September 11, 2001 I was working the early shift at the BYU Laundry. That morning I had chosen to listen to a CD on my drive to work rather than the radio, so I hadn't heard anything about the attack until my manager came in an hour later and told us a plane had hit one of the towers in New York. I did not grasp the scope of what had happened. I imagined a Cessna had gone off course and hit the building, killing only the passengers in the plane. They turned on the television in the back. I got there in time to see the second tower fall. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: this is no accident.
|The south tower of the World Trade Center begins to collapse following the terrorist attack on the New York landmark Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. The Millenium Hilton hotel is in foreground. (Amy Sancetta, AP Photo)|
The hours, days, and weeks that followed were filled with grief but also with the peace that, in the end, everything will be made right.
Looking at the Now
My current and forever calling in life is being a mother to my children. They were born into a world that has been shaped by the events of 9/11. They will never remember a time before it happened. Every year they see the flags placed in yards and around town and we talk about that day. The first year that my oldest was aware of the flags we talked about what happened. She asked if superheroes came to save the people. I tearfully told her that there were no superheroes that day but that everyday people stepped up and became real heroes. She responded, "But I don't know who they are." That inspired me to learn about the people who gave their lives. These were people who had names, faces, and families. When I think about what happened I wonder if I would have run to safety or run to save others. I hope I never need to find out. As I read the stories of the real heroes, I know I need to teach my children that evil did not win that day. Goodness, kindness, and love won out.
|Firefighters unfurl an American flag from the roof of the Pentagon Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001, as President Bush visits the area of the Pentagon where an airliner, hijacked by terrorists, crashed into the building on Sept. 11. (Ron Edmonds, AP Photo)|
So, 15 years beyond that tragic day, what have I learned? And how do I move forward? The beauty that rose out of the ashes was a spirit of unity and love that I don't remember before and have not seen since. We were all Americans. We were all brothers and sisters united in mourning and joined in determination. Support was expressed worldwide.
|Ruzhana Vecherko, 3, puts a candle outside the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Sept 12, 2001. The poster at right reads : Dear American people, we send our condolences and sympathy to you and your country. (Sergei Grits, AP Photo)|
Despite the differences we all have, there is more about us that is alike than is different. We want to be happy. We want to be loved. We all have things we hold dear. Most importantly, we are all children of God and that is something that cannot be taken away from us.
Moving forward, I have learned that I need to look for the good in others. It is there. Moving forward, I know that people are individuals and all are worthy of love and patience. Moving forward, I know to look for commonalities and build upon those. Moving forward, I know that understanding another person is the first step to loving them. Moving forward, I know the world can never have too much love.
|Annabelle Banievicz, and her son, Oriel Vanega, 7, attend a candlelight vigil Friday, Sept. 14, 2001, at Union Square in New York, not far from the site of Tuesday's terrorist attack against the World Trade Center. (Mark Lennihan, AP Photo)|