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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never forget

Okay, so I'm going to admit, I hate blogging about controversial topics because I'm always going to ruffle someone's feathers. Even if I have a disclaimer at the beginning, middle, and end, someone out there is still going to get their panties in a bunch about something I say. So here is your fair warning; you can stop reading now if you want!

September 11, 2001.
A day we will never forget.

I remember going to school (I was in 5th grade at the time) and we were in home room when there was an announcement made over the intercom. Our teacher told us that something really bad happened close to us and they had to send us all home. Our parents could come pick us up, and whoever was left was going to be sent home on the bus. They wouldn't tell us anything other than the fact that whatever this terrible thing was, it might happen again.

Two days prior, my family and I had toured the White House. It was an amazing tour, led by our neighbor who was in the Secret Service. I remember how majestic it was walking through the halls of such great leaders. Little did I know that the ability to go on a tour of such a great and historic building would be forever changed two days later.

Since my sister was in the local private school, my mom picked her up and I had to take the bus home. I remember walking up the driveway and thinking it was so weird that my dad was home so early in the day. We also live next to a major interstate, and I just remember it being dead silent. As a 5th grader, I'm surprised I realized that silence.

I walked into the house and turned the corner into the living room and saw our brand new, big screen TV replaying the footage of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Flight 93. My entire family was sitting on the couch, Mom crying, Dad just sitting there in shock, Monica twirling her hair, and Chris was probably playing with his Tonka truck. It was so weird. I asked what happened, were they watching a movie? "No," my dad said. "Some very mean people did a terrible thing to our country today." I donn remember much from that day except being very scared that something bad was going to happen to me.

I think every kid at the time was worried; schools were at risk, who knows what your bus driver really did when you were in school, etc etc. When we returned to school, it was heart wrenching to hear about my classmates who lost cousins, loved ones, even parents in those tragic events. We had to do something to move on. During that time I'm pretty sure everyone was much more patriotic than they were today. I know my yearbook picture has me wearing an American flag around my neck. "My Country Tis of Thee" was our song in chorus. The year went on, people started to get angry.

The next year I was walking home from the bus (I was now middle school). I had just found out my baby cousin Bridgit was born, and that we declared a War on Terror. I wasn't sure exactly what it meant, but I knew we were going to go find the bad guys. Years past, and there wasn't much progress that I heard about.

Fast forward a few years, to my time at the University of Maryland, and I remember sitting on our couch in Parkside surfing Facebook like every other college kid was doing at the time. I remember hearing one cheer and then all of a sudden my News Feed blew up with statuses saying that "Osama is dead!". I was so excited and in shock that I didn't know what to do. That was the first time I found out about some major news event via Facebook. Friends were partying down at the White House, but I was too exhausted to metro down there.

So here we are, September 11, 2014. 13 years later and the one day is as fresh in my mind as ever. How do I feel about it? Sad that such a terrible thing happened, but glad with the progress we as a country have made. We had lost so much trust in others right after 9/11 that it was hard to even trust your neighbor sometimes, but we have prevailed.

Everyone talks about how bad war is and how cruel it is. I leave those decisions up to the elected officials I vote for every November. If you aren't happy with how the country is being run, vote for who you think will do a better job, don't sit back and complain. People hate on Bush and Obama; just remember that everyone has their strengths! Some are better at leading a country in a time of crisis than others. Just keep that in mind. God help us if I were to ever become President. If I got stressed out, I would call up Ben & Jerry and Top Pot founders to ask them for advice. Just give the elected officials a break and be thankful that you have the opportunity to voice who you want to lead your country, even if you don't like who ultimately gets elected.

What it really comes down to is we are able to walk down the street wearing whatever we want, listening to whatever music we want, and eating wherever we want. We have that power to chose. It could have all been taken away from us on 9-11, but it wasn't. Just remember that.

Hug someone you love, listen to some country music, and salute the flag. We've come out in one piece, America, and let's be proud of it!


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