By Sue White: I’m sure that like so many, I recall this day so vividly because it was an otherwise unremarkable day — until that fateful moment when the world changed forever.
I was sitting in my office when I heard on the radio that something horrible was happening. My co-workers and I gathered in the conference room and witnessed on television what seemed unbelievable — the attack on the Pentagon, the second flight crashing into the towers, the heroic actions in Shanksville, Pa., and the image that has been seared on the brains of all Americans since, the collapse of the towers.
I recall sharing with my associates that, in 1988, I was in New York City for a week with my high school band/choir and that the hotel we stayed in was right there at ground zero. It had been years since I had ridden the express elevator up to look over NYC as an awestruck teenager, and I had always wanted to go back and experience that wonderful city again. It seemed like a little bit of the past that I so cherished was erased at this moment.
We wept and sat in shock that this had happened on our soil. As Americans, we had been blessed to have not experienced the horrors of terrorism that so many others in the world contend with on a daily basis, often on a smaller scale, but terrorism nonetheless.
Little did I know in that moment, that following 9/11, my now ex-husband would re-enlist in the National Guard. Through his deployments to the Sinai and Iraq, I was proud of his service and felt that by supporting him and holding down the fort on the homefront, that I, too, was serving in the protection of our country.
Unfortunately, post-deployments, our marriage was never the same, and it ultimately failed last year. To this day, I feel that to some degree, our marriage was yet another victim of the events of 9/11 and our nation’s response to the ongoing threat of terrorism.
Certainly, I do not equate this loss to the loss of the immediate victims of the tragedy. However, innumerable lives have been forever altered, directly and indirectly, by the ongoing fallout from this single act of evil.
In retrospect, 10 years later, what I most vividly recall was the incredible unifying effect that this tragedy had on our nation, and on the world. My hope is that in the coming weeks, as we solemnly and reverently honor those who perished and those who have sacrificed so much in the years after to protect us and the world from such evil and horrific acts, that we recall that sense of national unity.
I cannot a recall a time in my life when we, as a country, have been so polarized and vehemently opposed to one another. Today’s financial and job crisis is tearing this country apart at the seams. If we could just think back to that awful day, 10 years ago, and recall the way that we embraced one another, put our dogmatic differences aside and worked together to heal our country, perhaps we could find a way to do the same today.