“We’re still in this.” Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said this after finding out that some rescue workers at the horrific scene of New York city’s Twin Towers collapse, in an act of defiance and patriotism, erected the American flag. Many lives ended on September 11. What has unfolded in the ten years since the terrorist attacks has been nothing short of unbelievable.
The family of Osama bin Laden was allowed to fly out of a country that had just been assaulted in the most brazen terrorist attack ever on American soil. Almost three thousand good people died. President George Bush defied the United Nations and went to war looking for weapons of mass destruction which it turned out never existed. The Bush family continued its own oil business with questionable ties. Rescue workers involved in the clean up and aftermath got very ill with lung disease, then, had to fight their government to be helped. Other Americans on another plane that landed in Canada started a fund to help children whose parents died that day. One of those children has now graduated from university.
Many would say that the terrorist attack that day is the big picture. There is another picture which I think has become bigger. Under a new government, bin Laden was brought to justice. A black president now rules America and there have been no more terrorist attacks. Some of the widowed have remarried. Children have written essays about their brave father who was a fireman or mother who was stuck on the hundred and first floor or their uncle who ran up while others he encouraged down. A park sits where once only death and horror lay.
Life will never be the same as it was before that day. I was nursing my son in the morning quiet when I saw on a muted TV a scene of unbelievable reality. Matt was born July 11 – exactly two months early. He is now a sensitive curly haired ten year old daredevil who plays hockey.
Life can change in an instant and it is while watching what has transpired since, that we learn the most. Little boys get snatched from their beds in the middle of the night, hurricanes and tsunamis strike, little girls die while out on the water having fun with their older brother. Life is precious and we are so resilient. If somehow out of disaster, we can find a reason to go on then “We’re still in it.” I like to think that this motto applies to most of us because ready or not the world changes. Not all of us have to swim in open water with sharks underneath like David Creel our Canadian Swimmer of the Year for three years running, but we need to do something besides complain and see the world through a half empty glass. Neither activity will get you very far. Planes or no planes, sharks or no sharks, life really is for living. Is is up to us to decide what that looks like.