I don’t want to cry today, but I’m sure I will before the end of this post. Our lives are different today as change is inevitable, but you know that’s not what I mean. You remember — just like I do, what changed the way we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Everything was normal 15 years and one day ago. I went to work, picked up my mom, went to the grocery store, and put away the groceries. While she cooked that night, I went to visit a friend around the corner. I hadn’t seen her in a while, so I thought I would check on her since she was due to have a baby soon. While we sat in her living room reliving our college days and watching Bob the Builder with her three year old, her water broke. We giggled at first because we thought she had had an accident. A pregnant woman’s bladder is not her friend. When we realized that it wasn’t an accident, we shifted into high gear. She knocked on her teenager’s door and grabbed her hospital bag. I struggled with the three year old who refused to put on his shoes. His little world was about to change.
We all jumped into my tiny, green Dodge Neon and raced to the hospital in a neighboring town. My friend was in good hands, so I hung out with the kids until reinforcements showed up. It was a late night for me, but I got a text from my friend’s sister the next morning saying mother and baby were doing fine.
The next day, I drove to Crowley Middle School to teach my challenging group of at-risk students. I was exhausted from the night before, but I was still excited about last night. All was well. Our morning was routine, and then something changed. We were safe in our re-purposed annex building, but we would soon discover how at-risk we really were — as a nation. When my principal made an unscheduled announcement to turn on our TVs, I didn’t think for one second that I would witness an attack — especially not on U.S. soil. How could that be? In the land of the free?
I wasn’t sure what we were witnessing, and neither did the kids. I remember gasping loudly, and the kids all turned to look at me. I’m pretty sure they thought we were watching a movie, but I knew better.
I don’t recall what I told them, but I remember hearing lots of Whys. How does one answer the question of why someone hates us so much. All I could do was hug those who needed hugs and wrestle with my emotions to keep it together until they were gone. I was exhausted after an entire day of battling those emotions. I remember feeling a resurgence of patriotism — a desire to do something. I wasn’t fit to serve anymore, but that evening, when my knees hit the floor, I prayed for God to bless America. May the God of heaven’s armies continue to fight our battles in the time that we are here — knowing that our lives are but a vapor, and eternity is near.