Sunday, September 11, 2011

Inspiration Nation

In light of the 10 year anniversary of September 11, 2001, I thought I would share some inspiration that comes from viewing the TV shows, the news, and just thinking.

First off, I know everyone has a "where-I-was-on-9-11" story, but I think it's kind of important to share it because it is still what my mind goes back to when I hear the words "nine eleven".

I was in 9th grade English class with an excellent teacher, Mrs. R.  We caught wind of some crazy stuff happening and turned on the TV shortly after the second plane had hit.  I think it's worth mentioning that if it hadn't been for an 8th grade field trip 4 months before, I wouldn't have even known what the World Trade Centers were.  On our middle school trip to NYC, we actually went up to the top of the Twin Towers and took pictures and did the whole "tourist" thing.  But I specifically remember driving in the bus up to New York asking "What are the World Trade Centers?" after reviewing our itinerary.  I think that most of us 13-year-olds were in the same boat.  But when we got there, we learned quite a bit and even got to ride the 25 mph elevator that took us to the top!  I still have the tickets and pictures from that trip and I looked for them to post on here, but couldn't find them (we still have boxes to unpack from the move).  Whoops.

Anyway, seeing as I was actually on top of the World Trade Centers only a few months before, watching them crumble on TV with all of my classmates was really weird.  I remember thinking that it was crazy, scary, and incredible at the same time, but somehow felt very distant.  My English teacher, however, felt very close.  Her husband was in the military and she hadn't heard from him all day, so she was very worried and was really upset.  My friends and I were trying to talk to her and console her most of the time.

I kept thinking of it all day and was pretty upset when my biology teacher wouldn't turn the TV on.  I still remember the biology lesson that day.  We were doing jumping jacks with partners and then recording each others' blood pressures.  I was partners with my future high school boyfriend at the time and I even remember him flirting and me wanting to flirt back, but I was a bit in shock still and just kept thinking about how badly I wanted my teacher to turn the news on.

Recently, as in yesterday and today, I have been thinking a lot and have started to realize the massive impact this event had on our country.  And more than ever now, it scares the pants off of me!  But at the same time, I have watched some really inspirational stuff on the TV/computer this weekend that I just have to share.

First of all, I found this video on Facebook.  This is a video of David Irvin, who works at the Pentagon and was there the day of the attack.  He was interviewed about his experience that day by a project called Voices of 9.11.  This archive of videos includes about 500 interviews of survivors from the The World Trade Centers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA.  David Irvin was among the 500 interviewed and it was really neat to hear his story.  It also made things a bit more personal, considering I have met him and these videos were just released even though they were filmed in 2002 and 2003.

The History Channel put together an excellent documentary called 102 Minutes That Changed America. Although I watched it on TV, you can go to the website and watch clips as well.   It is made up of only home videos of 9 New Yorkers who took their video cameras around the city that day.  It included a lot of footage that I hadn't seen at all before and it was honestly terrifying.  But it put things in perspective because I truly felt like I was seeing everything through their eyes.  I realize now that if I had been there, I truly would have felt like the world was ending.  You just have to watch this footage.

And NBC, my trusty NBC with my trusty Matt Lauer, is proving to be the network to watch this weekend.  On Friday, Dateline NBC did a special called America Remembers.  Tom Brokaw narrates the 2 hour show full of first-hand accounts.  Many of the accounts were from survivors and widows.  And many of the stories were ones I hadn't heard before.  Those two hours were really emotionally draining.  And right now I am watching "As It Happened".  It's just the NBC Today Show exactly as it happened that morning being replayed on NBC.  It is sooooo weird to be watching the entire thing all over again.

These are some excellent videos and shows that have put things in even more perspective than even before.

Count your blessings.

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