Remembering the emotions of 9/11

With the recent death of Osama Bin Laden, I am sure that I am not alone in remembering back to the first time I heard his name.  That, of course, was in September of 2001 and I can remember it like it was yesterday. I am not going to recount that morning here, but rather an experience that sums up the feelings surrounding those events.

My friend Mike and I were living in Seattle and both working on the night shift at a local grocery chain, but each at a different location. I can’t remember the exact day that this happened, but I know it was within weeks of 9/11. Long enough that life had gone back to normal for most people, but it was something that you still thought about constantly. It was early in the morning and we were both off work. Because it was payday, Mike wanted to go pick up his paycheck. So we fought the morning traffic and headed from Redmond to Bellevue. Mike ran into the store long enough to grab his check. Then we headed straight back to Redmond.

Traffic was a little bit lighter on the way back, but not by much. Mike was driving and I just remember being half asleep, looking out the window and probably complaining about traffic. We were stopped at the light on the corner of NE 8th Street and 140th Ave NE (right across from the Walgreen’s if you are familiar with the area) when I noticed an Indian woman pushing a stroller on the sidewalk. It was a normal fall Seattle morning, overcast and a bit breezy so she was bundled up in her traditional garb and pushing against the wind.

Nothing out of the ordinary at all, but as I glanced over, her scarf flew away down the sidewalk without her knowing. I didn’t think we were going to be moving anytime soon, so I jumped out of the car and jogged down the sidewalk after it.  I grabbed the scarf and then hustled up to the woman. I am sure that she was a bit surprised to see a dirty warehouse worker, unclean and unshaven, with her scarf. I gave the scarf to her, she thanked me, and I headed back to the car (all before the light changed).

As I headed back to the car, people started to honk and I heard a couple of people start to yell. I initially thought  they were being impatient. Though when I looked around, I noticed that they were clapping and honking their horns to cheer me on. I heard, “Way to go, America!” and a few other cheers. For a moment I felt like a small hero. Then I got into the car and we finished our journey home.

I like to think of us, Americans, as people who still cheer for honor, integrity, and everything that is righteous. My small experience demonstrated this. However, I had very mixed feelings watching the news last night after President Obama confirmed to the public that Bin Laden was dead. I can’t think of a man in recent history that deserved to die more than Osama, but I still did not like to see people cheering in the streets.

No judgement here. People can do as they please, but for some reason I can’t quite explain, I felt that the night deserved more somber services in remembrance of the people this man has killed than chanting and shouting outside of the White House. “Never a boast or brag” comes to mind, but maybe that is just the way I was raised. As happy as I am that this evil man is dead, I still won’t celebrate death in the same manner as people celebrate their team winning the Super Bowl.

Looking forward, I hope that we can keep the solidarity that we had after the attacks of 9/11, that we can remember the sanctity of life, and as good prevails over evil, which it always will, that we can act in humility that we might deserve the divine intervention that we will most assuredly need.

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16 thoughts on “Remembering the emotions of 9/11

  1. exactly! i have felt very much this same way. we all know, let’s move on. let’s not keep his death on our minds any longer than we have kept those who died on 9/11 in our hearts.

  2. You expressed what I am sure many others thought also including myself. Cheering violence of any kind puts us right there on the edge. Somber thankfulness expresses my emotions.

  3. I follow Mandy’s blog and when she posted a link I just had to come over and read your post. I’m glad I did. This is a GREAT post! To see the levels of inappropriateness and offensiveness that people are going to, to celebrate this death, saddens me. I’m not judging either, to each his/her own, but I agree that people should have handled it differently! This quote sums it up…

    “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy…”-Dr. Martin Luther King

  4. I came over from your wife’s blog as well. Your post is exactly what I have been feeling. I do not judge people for what they do but I was sadden when people chose to celebrate a death. I felt like in light of the events we should have taken time to reflect on that day, remember those who were lost, pray for their families for closure and be thankful for the men and woman who fight for our country every day. I wanted to share the rest of the quote Christina posted, it was my facebook status all day because every single word of the quote sums up how I have feel. 🙂 Thanks for a wonderful read!

    “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy, returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
    – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  5. As you know, I share your view on what happened the other night. It is important for us to share these feelings, so people can reflect on how they behaved. I have one FB friend who posted yesterday that she was embarrassed by the way she reacted Sunday night, and let me know that my post about how uncomfortable I was with the cheering crowds actually made her stop and think about what she was celebrating. My hope is that all those people on the news were just drunk college kids who got swept up in the moment. Unfortuanately that reflects very poorly on Amercia as a whole, from a global viewpoint. I usually don’t give a crap about what other countries think of us, but in this case I think it might incite more violence and terrorist acts.

    • Very true, Kiara. There is a difference between celebrating the triumph of good over evil and “delighting in the shedding of blood.” People should understand that the latter is not be acceptable in an honorable society.

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