Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Some Anniversaries Shouldn't Exist.

Back in my formative years, the older generations would remakr upon 'where were you when such and such monumental event happened.' For my generation of baby boomers, the assassination of John F. Kennedy was our pivotal point, followed by Robert Kennedy's and Martin Luther King's assassinations.

In those historical instances, one can vividly remember where they were and/or what they were doing.

Ten years ago, the DH and myself were sound asleep when the first airplane hit the World Trade Center. We were both on vacation, and had planned a trip to Southern Indiana to a store in Nashville that at the time specialized in selling all things related to felines (as if you thought something else!). The telephone woke us up, my birth mother was upset because the first plane had just hit and we should turn on the tee vee. So we did. Just in time to see the second airplane fly into the second tower.

Like most of America, we watched in horror at the billowing plumes of smoke, the fire, the pieces of paper floating in the air currents, and then objects that later turned out to be bodies falling to the concrete below.

Then came the collapse of the twin towers, the third airplane hitting the Pentagon, and the announcement of the fourth airplane crashing in Pennsylvania.

I called my father, a retired United Methodist minister. The first words out of my mouth were, "Daddy, does this mean war?" He said, "I'm afraid so."

Though we decided not to go to the cat store (we went later in the week), we did decide to go out of town. The lines at the gas stations were horrendous, and we were even surprised to see a fracas burst out at a one pump gas station in Southern Indiana!

We had the radio on, listening to the news as we traveled. I called in reports from the towns we passed to the local news station to fill them on the increasing price of gas, and even the fracas in tiny little Hymera, IN.

The most eerie thing about the day was the complete silence at the airport. No planes were in the air. I couldn't remember a time that one didn't hear airplanes since I was born.

After the horror of 9/11, it seemed that our nation was a little more proud of who we are, what we are as a world power, and wanted to make the people responsible for the deaths of over 3000 men and women of all races, creeds, and colors pay for their crime.

I'm not gonna get into a politcal discourse here about the good and bad of the last 10 years. Maybe another day. Today was an anniversary that we should never have to mark, but the fact remains that it happened to us, and made us realize that we cannot remain complacent.

For myself, I came away with a greater respect for the first responders, the fire and police departments. Certainly there are some in uniform who abuse their power, but most of them are decent, honest, hardworking citizens who think nothing about rushing in to help while the rest of us are saving our necks.

Interestingly enough, I can remember seeing a NYC skyline that didn't have the twin towers to it. It's a vague memory from 1964, but thanks to Daddy's habit of taking lots of pics on vacation, I have the black and white photo taken from a ferry to prove it. The children born after 9/11/2001 will know the same skyline. To them, 9/11 will be something to learn in history like the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the World Wars, and the Moon Landing.

Indianapolis had a connection to NYC after the terrorist attacks. Task Force One, a search and rescue team, traveled there to help in the effort to rescue the possibly still alive. Eventually, the effort turned from rescue to recovery. That has to be hard on anyone, even if you're trained for that eventuallity.

One of the members of the task force was so greatly moved by what happened that he made plans for a permanent memorial to be built downtown, using two actual I beams from the towers. These towers were on display at the 'Loop for Life' ride I did last month. To stand next to those beams, reach out and touch them, is like being on hallowed ground. You feel so insignificant next to the beams, and sad as well.

Everybody had different ways to observe today. I rode Tig, my motorcycle, to participate in the dedication ride for that memorial. We got rained on. I got drenched (wasn't the first, won't be the last time it happens!). I was moved at the people in Anderson lining the street we traveled on, waving flags and cheering us on.

Even more moving was passing under Old Glory that hung suspended by twin tall ladder fire trucks. It's only the second time on a ride I've passed under such a tribute, and it's very moving.

As we rode the distance between Anderson and Indy on I - 69, the first responders were parked on the overpasses with signs and flags, wishing us well. We saluted them back with waves and our horns.

Yes, we got caught in one of those sudden Indiana rain showers. As if the Heavens were weeping for what the day meant. Hey, it happens on a ride sometimes. If you don't have rain gear, you get wet, and you eventually dry out! We started up again, and still people would sit on the side of the road waving and cheering us.

One veteran of an earlier world war, stood at the very starting point of the ride, silent and proud in his VFW hat and uniform, saluting us as we rode past. He was one of those who had given much in service to his country, and he was saluting us!

I didn't get to stay for the dedication ceremony due to needing to clean up and dry off to go to work. I'm sure the ceremony was fitting to the occasion. I even found out that the usual Indiana connection to a disaster was evident, as one of the passengers from Flight 93 - the plane that didn't hit its' intended target - was a former Hoosier.

The Indy memorial is paid for by private funds. No goverment assistance of any kind went into it. The effort is still thousands of dollars short. If you want to do something for 9/11, click on the link, and donate somthing.

May we never forget in the years to come. May we never grow that complacent again. And may we continue to appreciate the men and women in the fire and police departments, in the military, and in the health care industry for all they do for us.


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