My ipod just started playing Ace Frehley’s “New York Groove.” It makes me smile on this somber day not just because it rocks and reminds me of being a kid in the ’70s, but because when I hear it I see New York. That’s fitting for today.
The last time I was there was June of 2001 and today we’re all supposed to go back to that day if only for a moment. We all remember what we were doing too because we were all there. And in Washington and in Pennsylvania.
Five years ago, I got an email from my wife saying we were being attacked. My first period class hadn’t come yet, but when they did we just watched the tube – the towers coming down over and over again, and I tried to find the words to explain any of it to sophomores who previously had never thought much about anything beyond their little community outside Austin. It was school picture day and I imagine a whole school’s worth of people out there with permanent records of the sad eyes and fake smiles we all wore as the photographer took the pictures.
By the time my seventh period class came in, they asked if we could turn off the television and talk about adverbs. It was as if we all wanted to pretend if only for a few moments that everything hadn’t just changed.
Some of those kids are in the service now. I am grateful that they choose to serve this country. I am saddened by the thought that so many kids like them have been sent to fight the wrong war. I hate that thought. I hate it.
Five years ago…
Since then, we’ve let the murderer most responsible for the deaths of 3000 Americans escape. We’ve invaded a country that had no connection to the attacks. We’ve alienated a whole planet of people who stood with us.
Those who recognize these facts, ask these questions, are considered – by the administration that we all once stood behind – terrorist supporting, unpatriotic traitors. Never mind that it’s love of this country that prompts the questions, fuels the anger.
Five years later, when I stop to reflect in my own little moment of silence under the blackest central Texas storm clouds I’ve ever seen, I just can’t believe it.