Kassandra

Sep 10

Have We Forgotten?

By Kassandra

There is so much talk these days about collective bargaining, lockouts and NBA players going overseas to display their talents.

Frankly, it would be tremendous if we didn't have to worry about those types of things. We could get back to talking about our favorite team, our favorite players and our favorite moments. To the fan, that seems much more important.

But there are other things to remember. There are other things which have a greater impact. There are other things which are of a higher priority. There are things to never forget.

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"have you forgotten, how it felt that day. with your home land under fire and her people blown away. have you forgotten, when those towers fell. we had neighbors still inside goin' through a livin' hell."

The question in Darryl Worley's song (co-written with Wynn Varble) is as pertinent today as when it was when the song was released shortly after the largest terrorist attack on American ground, September 11, 2001. Of course, it was one of those moments where everyone remembers where they were on a day which saw over three thousand people lose their lives on American soil due to terrorist attacks from a seemingly unknown source.

It was something which was never supposed to happen. The United States was supposed to be invincible within it's borders. To the average person, this was unthinkable.

More died on that day than on the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941.

It wasn't just those in the twin towers, the Pentagon and on the plane bound for San Francisco which was to be hijacked to fly into the white house, who lost their lives on that day. The death toll would grow to include, amongst others, over 400 emergency services workers in New York City alone. 

And it wasn't just Americans who were killed that day. Citizens of over 90 nations fell to the attacks. According to NYmag.com, 1,609 people lost a spouse and, in the number which most alarms me personally, 3,051 children lost a parent.

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We mourned. The world mourned with us. On our televisions, we saw countless interviews with witnesses, intended victims and those wondering of the whereabouts of loved ones.

The reality of what had happened began to give way to healing, many of us could not get enough of the coverage. We simply wanted to understand. Foremost we wanted to understand who was behind this and why.

The answer to who came quickly, and was followed very soon by the philosophical why. That seemed to only fuel the fire as we learned it was an attack on our way of life. In other words, we were attacked because of how we spend our days. We were attacked because we live by the very values and goals our founding fathers laid out for us.

If you really look at the big picture, the perpetrators may not have met their goal. We licked our huge wound and, better or worse, moved on with our day-to-day lives. We eventually resumed our routines.

We remembered the day. The fallen remained on our minds. We continued to sympathize with those who lost someone at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We lamented and smiled when we thought of those who gave their lives to prevent the fourth plane from reaching its intended target -- the White House. We take a certain comfort in the fact that those heroes took the plane back from hijackers before it crashed in Pennsylvania.

We also got angry.

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Alan Jackson - Where Were You when the World Stopped Turning?

I was nine years old on September 11, 2001. My oldest brother had just begun high school, while the rest of the six of us were being homeschooled by my mother.

My dad had gone to work early that day and at about 7:30 a.m., he called my mother to tell her to turn on to any of the major news networks. She did. my second-oldest brother and I saw the images of the north -- then the south -- towers as they collapsed into rubble to the ground in lower Manhattan.

It seemed more like a movie than something which could actually happen. But the familiar voices of the news anchors were evidence that this was, indeed, very real. They were not actors; they were journalists.

I watched in horror for about a half hour, then could not watch any longer. My mom attempted to explain as best she could. While I could no longer watch, I was listening intently. I became increasingly horrified when I kept hearing updated numbers of casualties, as well as other terrifying reports such as those who lept from the upper floors of the World Trade Center in an effort to avoid the mortally excruciating heat. I listened for hours. As I listened to the reports and analysis, I could understand the gravity of what was happening.

Suffice to say, mine and my siblings lesson plans changed drastically that day.

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As I write this blog, I sit next to my sister, Jessica, who was just seven when the attacks occurred. The following words are from her:

"I did not understand what was happening when my family watched the reports of the terrorist attacks. I knew it was very bad and that people were dying inside our country. The thing I had to learn was why someone hated us so much that they would try to kill so many people inside our country. My parents always told me that governments had disagreements but that basically most people around the world were very similar. I've since learned and believed that to be true. I think most people just want to find happiness and love. I remember watching the news and asking my mother a ton of questions. I wanted to know what was going on, why and what our country was going to do about it. Knowing that my parents both served as soldiers, I felt reassured and safe. I felt there was no way my mom and dad would ever let harm come to me or my brothers and sisters. Despite all that had happened and all I had heard on the news, I was confident of that. I still don't think I completely understand why someone would hate us or anyone that much. I am not naive. I know the hate is real but I just don't get it. I think a lot of that day 10 years ago. My prayers often include thoughts of those who've been wronged or hurt by others to find peace and forgiveness. On this 10th anniversary of nine-11, my prayers and compassion go out to those who lost or knew someone who died on that day. I also will pray that nothing like this ever happens to us again."

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Following the events of September 11, 2001, the nation changed, if only for a time. We were stunned, yes, but there was an increased sense of patriotism. We were a little nicer to one another. We were a little more together. Our Congress even tossed aside partisanship to show to the world the unity which ultimately connects us.

Our flag meant something more at this time. The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America at our sporting events not only brought increased tears, but a sense of pride and comfort. Musical artists such as Worley, Alan Jackson and Toby Keith presented songs which offered both reflection and motivation to move forward.

Our president vowed that no individual, group or country who enacted, supported or harbored terrorists were free from our grasp. He vowed to track down the leader of the organization responsible for the September 11 attacks.

We are still pursuing many of those, ten years later, under a different president. In fact, as undoubtedly all of us know, our special forces stormed and killed the leader of the organization responsible for the attacks not even quite five months ago.

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I've heard time and time again that the best way for we citizens to counter those who want to negatively impact our way of life is to simply continue living our lives. Our founding fathers drafted and signed the outline for this. As long as we follow our constitution, and pursue our dreams, loves, hobbies, freedom, liberty and happiness -- no one can ever defeat us.

They may wound us for a bit, but we will come back stronger and more focused. As long as we strive for our dreams, then we will never lose.

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I believe all these things, namely because I've seen evidence of them. Jessica, my sister who contributed to this blog above, is already an accomplished musician and is actively following her dreams. The look in her eyes when she plays her piano or her guitar is priceless. I see what she wants to accomplish and what it means to her.

No terrorist nor action can defeat that love. No terrorist nor action can defeat that spirit.

Like Jessica, I pray for those souls we lost as a part of September 11. I also pray for those who dream a dream which cannot be silenced. I pray for the dreamers.

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The one thing we have to do is remember. We have to remember that day. When we hear Have You Forgotten? we have to be able to say, "No, we haven't. We honor those who came before us and we honor those who continue to live their lives and follow their dreams."

Have we forgotten September 11? No, I don't think we have. On this 10th anniversary of the attacks, we're still very cognizant of the tragedy of that day. We should be. It reminds us of our resiliance. It reminds us of our desires. It reminds us of our way of life. It reminds us to treasure that which drives us.

It should remind us that if we want to take a trip to the beach, to do it. It reminds us that if we want to strive to be our best, to do it. It reminds us that if we want to be fans of our favorite basketball team, to do it.

We have not forgotten.

~ KMM

P.S. Today, and this weekend for that matter, there will be September 11, 2001 remembrances all across the country. For a timeline and other facts regarding that tragic day, click here: September 11 Basic Facts

In Kassandra's Words features regular blogs throughout the off-season. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end, but our Blazers are forever. Please follow on twitter: @Kassandra227
               

14 Comments

  1. KMM:

    Wow, make me cry, It is funny I wrote you an e-mail last night to get in touch because I hadn't heard from you in so long. I was going to mention 9-11 many times, because I knew how you felt and knew you would be mourning. I just couldn't figure out how to put all that I was feeling into the words . You did that for me Kassandra, thank you. On 9-11 I was getting ready to go to college for the first time in 45 years, after that I wasn't sure I even wanted to go to college. When college started, I was still in a state of shock. Angry? you bet.

    I received a forward last night that I usually don't pay attention to, but this was about the unhappy terrist. I will send it to you privately and I am sure that you will be as angry as me.

    We have to work later today, and one of the establishments we have to clean up is having a big dinner in remembrance of 9-11. So trying for a little humor, we plan on attending then staying to clean up our own mess for a change instead of everybody Else's.

    OBTW, I couldn't get to your other blog, It was iamatrailblazer.com and I am blocked from that.

    Thank you KMM for your wonderful blog, give thanks to Jessica for her input and I share your remembrance with you.

    love

    hg

    by Hg on 9/11/2011 5:54 AM
  2. Kassandra darling - beautiful post. Indeed, I too remember where I was that day - I was actually woken up by a phone from my mom's sister, who lives close by to us and asked me did you hear what happened to the towers? I had literally just gotten up from the phone call, so I rushed to the TV and was shocked. It was late for me that day, as class was at 10, so the towers had already fallen when I saw the first coverage.

    It was a scary time; confusion, fear, sadness, shock, horror, among others. It has been a tough decade for our country for sure. There have been high points and low points. Yes, our nation has endured and continued to live successful lives, to achieve dreams. I think this is especially for the young ones, like you and your siblings. You and your sister were at such a tender age on that fateful and tragic day and you've moved through those tender teenage years over the last decade since then. I'm sure it couldn't have been all that easy, with increased sense of tension, conflict that has pervaded our lives at large these 10 years. I can say, i grew up during a much more innocent time, where things were so very different. More peaceful. More relaxed. A more innocent time. Now, regular news of troops and/or civilians dying or being injured at the hands of road-side bombs (though I saw that August was the first month without a troop death since the 2003 Iraq invasion) is what faces us, when that wasn't the case back in the90s, save during the first Gulf War.

    I have to admit Kassandra, it has also been a decade of uneasiness for me and my family. We are whole-heartedly American, there is no doubt about that, especially me and my cousins, as this nation is all that we have known all our lives - yes, we visit the land of our parents' birth and our families that live in some of these conflict zones that have now become more apparent to the public (mainly Pakistan). Yet, it's the daily life that we live in the America that we cherish, that we know, that we participate in, whether it be school, work, or recreational. While we and our fellow Americans continue to do this, as you alluded to, there has also been a lot of tension to deal with, both politically and personally. Anyways, I'll leave that for now. Probably not the time or place.

    I just hope with this 10th anniversary, the unveiling of the memorial (looks amazing, good choice with the reflecting pools), that while we should and will not ever forget the suffering on that day, the heroism and bravery we saw, the sacrifice that was made, that transcended race, religion and culture, that we can turn the page and move forward to a new era. I do hope that with the killing of the main person behind the attacks, some closer can be had, though I know the families will always have heavy hearts, as they continue to feel the absence of their loved ones (as I saw today, as I watched the names being read out by such young individuals, of the many who lost parents, as you pointed out). We are facing hard times economically of course, but looking at the big picture, we as a nation need to continue to Heal, as we still have divisions and differences that need to be sorted out before we can truly be brought back to health. We need to bridge differences, we need to reach out, so both hate and ignorance fade away - so that this nation can prosper and reach greater heights than ever before. I think what our Founding father's envisioned for us, we still need to and can reach there - adversity can sometimes be the catalyst for chance and improvement, while it can also be a trigger for falling, but we must not fall into that trap.

    I hope that positive forces in the country will prevail and again, I think a big part of that is our younger members of society, like you Kassandra - you're growing up in and will soon enter a different world than when an oldie like me first entered into young adulthood. All of us, need to work together to keep the legacy alive of what was and to forge a a future, after having been through this tragedy, that those who lost their lives that day and since then, would be proud of - I pray that we can all work together to make that happen. Amen.

    by Anees on 9/11/2011 8:35 AM
  3. great blog kasey! one of your best! ty for posting this...you needed to do this on this important day. I know this for sure what was meant for evil turned into good. It brought awareness of that when we are faced wtih an outside enemy we unite as no one else can! I had thought that was lost as I remember hearing about how americans in the past did this and I saw that example of helping out in my grandparents and my dads generation but thought that was lost...it isnt which is good. no we cant let the terrorists win we go about our lives and reach for our dreams whatever that is. I will not forget where i was when this happened. i had gotten up super early as i had to go to my job to turn in time cards by ten am so at six am i had turned on the tv and the first tower had just been hit. i was in shock what? then as im sorting thru this i see the second plane hit live on tv.

    I was not in total shock this happened. I had warning two wks before that something bad was going to happen. i had a vision that lasted for three days where I saw the nose of a big plane coming towards me as i was sitting in the office the glass breaking it was like watching a movie over and over in my head that I could not shut off. I had no idea what it was or where. I just knew something bad was going to happen soon...little did I Know it would be this bad.

    one thing that brought me comfort that day was hearing our military jets flying over giving us protection and help. it was so eerie for a few days to hear no jets taking off as I live close to the airport...as im typing this im hearing jets taking off.

    I am thankful for the bravery of those men on that plane that took it down in that pennsyvania field as they had gotten word that there had been other attacks. those were our real heroes and so were the first responders and those who did the rescues.
    ty jessica for sharing your view point and sharing in thisi blog. i am glad i got to hear what it was like for the young to see this and try to figure it out. you wont be able to figure it out..ty for writing this kasey and jessica!

    by oregongal47 view (TG) on 9/11/2011 8:41 AM
  4. ty for sharing that anees i grew up in an even more inocent time then you did anees and i saw the previous generations love and work hard and give what they had to others. I remember being able to go out and not fear for my safety like now...so i laugh anees at you being old in my eyes your stil pretty young...lol
    just remember this everyone the greatest gift we have is love and giving it out let ignornace be gone totally!
    tg

    by oregongal47 view (TG) on 9/11/2011 8:48 AM
  5. Kasey & Jessi, Well done!! It is so reassuring to me that even kids that were under 10 at the time get it, you both understand the impact of the events of 9/11. Not because you had to take a test in History class on it (though you may have), you realized it is and forever will be, one the most significant events that occur during your lifetime, it certainly was and is for me.

    The choice of pictures and videos is great too, I'm very proud to be American, and I say that knowing that many times Americans in general come across to the rest of the world as arrogant and self-centered. I think one of the reasons America is so great is we truly are a melting pot of different cultures, races, accents & hair styles :) ! As Anees mentioned, we, as a country have a long way to go in truly understanding, accepting and embracing our differences with others, that however, isn't done at a national level, it's done at a person to person level. First by taking the assumption that the person in front of you is an equal no matter how they look, talk, eat or what sports team they support, unless they are a Lakers fan.

    Today is a day to remember what happened, to pray for the survivors & the family of those that lost their life on Sept 11th or have lost their life in the last 10 years as part of the wars, bias or discrimination.

    Thank you, for sharing your talent and challenging us....to make sure we too, remember.

    by BlockParty aka Teamship on 9/11/2011 9:10 AM
  6. Just to add the Teamship's second to last line: (not sure if the numbers are accurate though) R.I.P. the 2,976 American people that lost their lives on 9/11 and R.I.P. the 48,644 Afghan and 1,690,903 Iraqi civilians.

    by Anees on 9/11/2011 10:19 AM
  7. Beautifully written Kass and Jessica.

    I too remember that day very well. I turned on the radio, and Howard Stern was talking to a caller that was telling him what had happened, and Howard didn't believe the guy.I turned the television on in time to see the second plane hit WTC. Like a lot of people it was all sureal to me. This couldn't possibly be happening to us, but it was real, very real.

    I called in sick to work that day, and gathered the family as we all watched in horror what was developing before our eyes. My son was nine, and my daughter was fourteen. I thought it was importants to have an open dialog about was was going on in our great country, but it was very dificult when I was dealing with such a wide range of emotions.

    As you know I grew up in a diferent country, but I am very much an American, having lived here since '75. Dad was a great soldier in this counrty, and he intstiled in me a great sence of pride in this country, and the stars and stripes.

    I am really glad you blogged this today if only to honor so many people we lost that day, and really liked what others have commented as well.

    Many Blessings

    by Albert Hoy on 9/11/2011 5:22 PM
  8. Great blog Kassandra, really well-written and genuinely expressed. I enjoyed reading your enthusiasm for this country, your pride. It is very unlikely what happened on 9/11 will ever be completely forgotten.

    My perspective on the events that led to that day, what happened that day, and especially what has happened since is colored by a deep understanding of the history behind our government's relationship with the Middle East and especially Bin Laden. However, I will always feel great compassion, empathy, and pity for the thousands of people who lost loved ones that day and beyond (as our first responders are slowly dying as a result of their heroic efforts & our dedicated soldiers have been dying ever since) and especially for the innocents in the Middle East who have lost far, far more. I pray often that someday, humanity will remember we are all related.

    I thank Anees for sharing his perspective, a much-needed reminder that despite a relative return to normalcy for most of us, many of our fellow citizens face a scrutiny that often bears its own brand of unjust hatred.

    God Bless the Fallen and the Falling

    by SisillaRiann on 9/11/2011 9:00 PM
  9. @Teresa - Yeah, I know I'm not really that old, and yes, I'm sure your earlier days were even more innocent.

    @EowynAmarie - Yes, it is has been a difficult 10 years, though I have to say, nothing directly has happened to us, though traveling and the fact I'm a male, whose first given name is Mohamed, But I know that so many others have had to deal with much more in this last 10 years. It's a small price to pay to be safer, but it can get annoying, but patience is a virtue. :-) Indeed, there is a lot of background/history involved, which many were or are not aware of , but despite this, it doesn't make it any less painful, or shocking. The nature of what happened - it wasn't just a bombing - it was just so horrific in scale. I do hope if anything, good can come out of it - and I think as Teresa is implying, connecting, trying to understanding each other - the world is a smaller place now, as we can connect with those around the world in an instant (Twitter) and we can witness things in real time, that are world-changing from people that are just like ourselves - trying, struggling to make a life, live their dream.

    Getting back to the main issue - each time the anniversary passes, sometimes I can't even believe all this happened - revisiting the events or stories of that day - I wish our nation could have been spared such an event, such tragedy, such shock. Sadly, I think, no one can escape from pain and suffering in today's world, as hard as we try. Though others have suffered much more, before we suffered this loss of innocence (as a people, having to suffer and witness such a heinous act) though it's clear that many sinister things go on 'behind the scenes.'

    As I said in my first comment, while there is no way this day, the people lost, all those affected, I do hope that we can work to make this a better nation - a difficult road lies ahead, but right here, this blog and similar discussions, will help move us forward, while always keeping in mind, the suffering that has taken place on our land, and those more distant; we are all one race - the human race, and I think it is easier now, to understand each other's stories - which I think is paramount to overcome all the negativity - for one only fears what one does not know, but now, we have no excuse to keep ourselves in the dark.

    We are living in a special time - our larger generation will in large part, be defined or be strongly influenced though hopefully, not completely defined by, the events of 9/11, probably in different degrees; the last 10 years have been difficult - but also, it is a chance to, to steal a Blazer-based phrase - make it better. As long as we, those who have witnessed this, are alive, let us be reminded of the sadness and tragedy that occurred, carry it in our hearts, while also live better lives, and make positive changes as we move through this period in history.

    Hope that made sense - so many thoughts going through my head.

    Indeed, God Bless those who are no longer with us since that day - in New York, in DC, in Pennsylvania and those in distant lands. Amen/Ameen.

    by Anees on 9/12/2011 12:04 AM
  10. Incredible insight. As I've told you before, such an incredible writer and you express your personal emotions through your words. Great post and one I know that you will remember forever.

    by CrazyRusty on 9/12/2011 9:39 AM
  11. We will never forget! Great article.

    by mbmurr1 on 9/14/2011 6:54 PM
  12. i wish i could tell all who commented how much i appreciate your responses on this topic. it amazes me it's been so long, but i seem to hear just as many references to 9/11 today as i did 5 years, 8 years, 10 years ago. i truly don't think we've forgotten. when researching this blog, i was amazed at the numbers. twice as many have died as a result of 9/11 than died in the recent japanese earthquake/tsunami. in a strange way, i'm glad i was old enough to understand what was happening when it was happening. i think of my siblings -- the younger ones especially -- when events such as 9/11 cross my mind. i feel a certain responsibility to them and to help them understand the impact that day had on the country and the world. i think of my youngest sister, who wasn't born until 2007 and conversations i will have with her to explain the impacts of that fateful day. as you all may have gathered, i'm very patriotic. my whole family is. we believe that remembering days like 9/11, honoring those fallen and those left behind, and preventing future acts like this is extremely important. again, thank you all for commenting.

    by Kassandra on 9/16/2011 6:58 PM
  13. i also want to thank my sister, Jessica, for sharing her insights. i often think of my perception; so it was nice to add her own words as well. thank you, My Yeseeka!

    by Kassandra on 9/16/2011 7:05 PM
  14. Like you, Kassandra, I am stunned and shocked when I remember that day and those days afterwards. It seems as though when tragedy happens the country becomes stronger and more together. At least for a little while. Thank you for letting me be a part of this blog. It was an honor for me to share my thoughts with you and the readers.

    by milwaukiejessi on 10/11/2011 2:51 PM
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