The Dream that Never Stops- A Rembrance for the 7th Anniversary of 9/11

September 11, 2008

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going thru a living hell
And you say we shouldn’t worry ’bout bin Laden
Have you forgotten? . . .

“Have you forgotten all the people killed?
Yeah, some went down like heroes in that Pennsylvania field
Have you forgotten about our Pentagon?
All the loved ones that we lost and those left to carry on
Don’t you tell me not to worry about bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

-Darryl Worley, Have You Forgotten?

It is a recurring dream of mine that has been going on sporadically over the last 7 years or so. The setting is not always the same nor is the course of events, but one thing remains constant that lets me know they are all linked together. Sometimes their connection is quite literal with planes flying into buildings, or even closer to home, crashing into my house, and sometimes it is more severe with enemy jets coming in to level attacks with missiles and bombs. Regardless, every time there is some attack coming against my country, against my comfort, which threatens my life.

Maybe I was more apt to be affected by September 11th. I was already extremely patriotic to start off with, and add to that the fact that it happened during my senior year of high school, one of the most memorable years of any American teenagers life, I guess it was bound to mean more to me, and so it did. Still, with every passing American patriotic holiday such as the 4th of July or Memorial Day I get thrust back to that September morning.

I was sitting in my Senior English class taking an exam when, in a seemingly insignificant event, the phone rang. My teacher answered and seemed disturbed, but did not say anything right off. Then about 10 minutes later a couple of students came down to our room to tell the class what had happened: a jet had accidentally flown into the World Trade Center in New York City. We turned on the news to see what was going on, and by the time we had done this a second plane had already crashed into the epic skyscraper. At this point things began to get weird and everyone was speculating about what they had just seen. And then . . .

Almost in unison with the class change bell, the first of the WTC towers fell. Nearly all of the 2,100 students in my school had seen this occur live in front of their eyes, and the ensuing tense, nervous panic in the hallways as we moved from class to class was palpable. Once in the next class, the teachers tried to regain order. Though we were over 1,000 miles from New York, our school was only a half mile or so from a major airport, and with the uncertainty of all that was happening this had made many understandably apprehensive.

So, we sat there, TV on in the background, trying to start the day’s lesson, ready to run at a moments notice. Reports began surfacing that a similar attack had been felt at the Pentagon and that a fourth plane was not being accounted for. Finally, at 10:28am the second tower collapses. With this, classes unofficially end for the day with the entire classroom sitting silent, fixed to the unbelievable scenes being broadcast on the TV.

The days, weeks, and years that followed have been filled with all sorts of emotions towards this event. I did not personally know a single person who died that day and yet the events that transpired have affected me, haunted me, in an sizable way. Regardless of one’s personal involvement, I can’t imagine how anyone was left untouched.

It is for this reason that I am angered by how so many Americans recall this moment in history. You have the conspiracy theory nuts headed by Chief Cashew Rosie O’Donnell, who take this event and try to paint the American government as the ultimate Satan, leading the perpetration of these attacks and bearing the blood of the several thousands dead on their hands. Or the liberal apologists like Keith Olberman who see 9-11 as a political event which can be turned into attacks against any and all conservatives and speak of their “disgust” at letting people see the real life tragedy that occurred that day.

2,752 people died. 2,752 Americans woke up that mid-September morning to head to work, not in their wildest imaginations thinking that the day would end abruptly with a plane crashing through their office or by their flight slamming into a rural Pennsylvania field. 2,752 Americans died that day knowing that true evil exists. Now, 7 years later, it seems like so many people have forgotten. When you can look at what happened that day and all that you think of is conspiracy theories and political leverage, the depravity of man should be so clear to you it’s almost deafening. How can one see such tragedy and sadness and only feel such worthless emotions as these?

After 9-11 droves of Americans flocked into their local churches, seeking prayer and protection, seeking the comfort of community and the hope of experiencing God. Seven years later these people have forgotten. There is no noticeable change in American church attendance in the long-run. The comfort sought was only temporary, the evil of the day not enough to break us from our routine for too long. We praise this response as a testament to the perseverance of Americans, but should we be so proud of our near-sightedness in the face of such a clearly broken world?

I still have these dreams. I don’t know when they will come or what triggers them, but every few weeks they pop in just to remind me of that day. Of the terror and helplessness I felt, watching those lives come to an end, watching the drama of tragedy and heroism play out before my own eyes in the moving images of the TV set. Today, seven years removed from 9-11, I can’t help but reflect once more, both in sadness at what happened, fear at what evil still might strike, and astonishment at how so many have forgotten just what really went down that day.

Have you forgotten?