I was in the last semester of college at Florida State University, standing in the University Center (offices inside Doak Campbell Stadium) getting my parking pass for the Fall semester. It was a room like you’d find at the DMV, where there’s a long row of attendants ready to help with whoever was next in line. I was the only one in line. Four of the attendant windows were operational, yet no one was asking me to approach them. In fact, the employees behind the long counter were not even at their windows. They were all looking at the television mounted on the wall behind them. Me, being a passive 4th child, assumed they simply didn’t know I was there. Wondering what in the world was more important than their job, I became slightly frustrated. Then I noticed the content of what they were watching. I got my parking pass that day, but classes were cancelled so I went home and turned on the news. Where were you on that day?September 11 has become somewhat of a National holiday, a day of remembrance. Do you think we feel the same way Americans did when Memorial Day was officially recognized as a holiday? Because on Memorial Day, we take time to remember those who fought for America’s freedom and who fought wars in the 20th century, but it’s ancient history we read about in books. September 11 is a new memorial day that everyone over the age of nine is connected to directly. Instead of reading about stories, we can tell stories. From government, society, military, race relations, religion, music, television, movies, travel, so much of what America is about today is an extension of that day. The day the United States showed vulnerability. A strong and proud nation whose residents never thought we’d be attacked here inside our own borders. In countries we only hear about on the news, terrorism like that happens every day and after 2001, we became their equal. An ally engaging in the fight that’s been long going, but we never had the need or the reason to join in. I hate to think about losing, but on September 11, 2001 we lost. I think it was hard for us as a country to accept that, because we value winning. Whether it’s sports, the lottery, or speeding through a light before it turns red, we place a lot of importance on being ahead, being the best, finishing first, not slowing down. Bang! Two towers are hit, both fall down, and all of the sudden someone else has the upper hand. For a short time, we were not the best. We were vulnerable and the innocence of our young country was exposed. But we are no longer innocent. We are no longer naive. And unfortunately for our enemies, we are no longer uninvolved.
My dad served for 27 years and for that, I couldn’t be more proud. I’m not a soldier. I’m just a normal citizen with a house and a dog. But I love this country and will forever hold my hand over my heart during the pledge of allegiance, while thinking of the soldiers like my dad who defended, are defending, or will defend this country.