Sept. 11 is my brother’s birthday, although he doesn’t care to celebrate his birthday anymore, I called and sung happy birthday to him and told him I love him.
You see sixteen years ago a tragic event took place. 9/11 – everyone remembers where they were, how they found out and in the worst cases, who they lost. At a dialysis clinic in Pennsylvania, my sister-in-law and I were at work, just like any other normal day. I was taking a patient off of his treatment and asked him what movie he was watching – This is not a movie Pete said, this is really happening. A plane hit the twin tower. Then the twin towers were hit by a second plane. This is no longer a freak accident, but an attack on our homeland.
As this horror is unfolding before our eyes, you still have a job to do. Your brain freezes, the pit of your stomach develops fear, nervousness and nausea. My Facility Administrator at the time – her husband was a man-in-black for the government. You could just look at her and see the fear and concern on her face. We continued to take care of our patients. Taking them off and putting the next set of patients on, just trying to remain calm and keep the patients calm and ease their concerns.
As we continued to listen to the news, a third plane in Pennsylvania has been taken over. We all know that we are only 35 miles from Camp David. Where is this plane headed to Camp David or D.C.? My team is trying to remain calm as I am sure the whole United States was. The plane went down in Somerset County. News alert came across again, plane headed towards Washington. The United States is on high alert, locked down. The plane hits the Pentagon in Washington. Then we had weeks of coverage splashed on the news to relive the horror we experienced.
Through all the horror that unfolded that morning and how deeply it affected us all and all the heroes and those that became legend; the thing I remember most about that day is how we came together as a nation – no matter who we were.
It was a time we forgot labels, and who believed in what. Didn’t matter what race or color your skin was, who you called family, or what God you worshipped. Or didn’t.
We were all just, well … Americans. Americans blindsided by grief, devastation, and who had no one to turn to … except the only folks who understood the pain – our fellow citizens. People hugged, cried, and prayed together, no matter who they were. For a brief time after that tragedy, we were truly the United States of America.
Attacked, grieving, and ultimately, resolved to find justice and defend our nation.
Fast forward to sixteen years later, and that is not the case anymore. Ugly recent events have further driven a wedge between friends, family and neighbors. Nowadays, it seems some misguided folks want to separate us again. They’re not happy unless they can put us in a box, and tell us what to think.
They thrive on hate, and try and convince us that we are enemies. But in reality, we are just a patchwork of individuals with a common thread – our great country.
And while I pray every day we never experience another 9/11 … I long for the time when we all came together to comfort one another and dry our tears.
For those of you who continue to show love instead of hate, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Love and prayers.
Tammie Walls lives in Caddo.