Sunday, September 11, 2011

SEPTEMBER 11th- A DECADE LATER: time does not erase tragedy

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

We all are facing our own battles. Daily, we deal with the reality of a 9.5 - 9.7 national unemployment rate, a national debt crisis that causes to question the government spending, our military influence globally. When bringing up the the national debt one cannot bring up the debt crisis without questions of our presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Reading several different sites from various sources streaming over the internet from reputable entertainment sources to news- I have surprisingly read some people reacting in a hostil fashion towards 9/11 rememberance. Some people feel that it was 10 years ago and to just "leave it alone already" and that "the economy is the important thing to be thinking about today."

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

And while, yes the economy and our own personal lives is wrought with our own personal tensions and stress. When I read negative comments from some people actually getting annoyed with any sort of tribute towards 9/11- I tried to stay objective and yet I was floored. 10 years ago the attack on our soils changed the course of history, destroyed lives, and caused so much suffering. It was a moment in history most of us will never forget.

Personal family photos of my husband & his father
It is a moment that made people like my husband feel the need to serve his country with his life. He was about to start making plans for Graduate school when the event changed his life forever and many others as well. The picture here is a young boy (my husband) standing with his father proudly posing before the twin towers, a moment in time that burned a deep desire in him to sacrifice his plans to go to Graduate school and live the comfortable, typical civilian life.

Since, he has deployed 27 months both to Iraq and Afghanistan in some of the worst places. He will be going again on a 3rd deployment to Afghanistan in the near future. Since, we have buried many, many friends- too many soldiers and all have sacrificed their lives for this great nation.

When we bring up 9/11 we cannot bring it up without remembering all of what has happened within the last 10 years, including the wars. Many, many people may not agree with the causes or reasons for being in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Frankly, there have been too much division, disputes, and disagreements over this. I would rather not make this about a political debate over the wars.

Nonetheless, I  will honestly say one thing about it and write what I do know based upon my very real and extremely personal experience. What I do know from having lived through 27 months of worrying whether or not my husband was coming home alive or not-  is that those that have family, husbands, and fathers that have deployed to war and have gone and fought- our feedback should carry more weight over the war debate than those that have never understood the sacrifices. Those that have never gone to any of the funerals or do not know what it is like to worry or wait for a husband who is deployed to war. Those that have not lived in our shoes should not try to speak for us or attempt to banter on and on about anti-war this or pro-war that in an extremely politically divisive (right or left) way.  Most of these opinions, as I have come to find, usually come from those that assume to know or think they know. Just because one is highly educated does not make them war strategists, economists or genuine experts in the field. They especially cannot speak for the sacrifices that our military makes if they do not have the first clue as to just how much we really sacrifice.

But, rather than divided, in a very bi-partisan way 10 years ago what started as a tragedy turned in to a moment of unity. It was a moment where everyone came together. Those that did not believe in God- prayed for the first time. Those that did not understand what real loss was- felt it for the first time and it was so heavy that no one could escape it. It was so deep in our hearts, the grief touched all of us. For those that feel annoyed by remembering 9/11 or feel that it is exploitive and may cause those that have lost loved ones on this national tragedy to have to "re-live" that moment.

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

For those that feel that we have bigger problems to worry about like the economy and to just "get over it." To me, remembering soldiers that died for this country, fire fighters, police officers, and the victims of 9/11 is not exploitive- but our duty as citizens of this great country. It is our duty to remember them and to never forget. It is selfish of us to say " oh, get over it." I hope we never really get over it. There is no such thing as placing a number or a time table to a tragedy. There is no such thing as saying that if "X amount of time or years have gone by, then we should move on and forget it." Lives are forever changed. There are friends and family and children and people we are never going to be able to bring back. Ever. 

Like the holocaust and slavery and moments like the tragedy that happened 10 years ago that marked history, they are moments that cannot be blown off with a number. That is not to say that we do not continue to become stronger and learn from our past as a country and fortify our international and national security. However, there are some things in life that no matter how many years and decades go by, the grief remains just as real as the very day that all of it happened. Today is a moment to selflessly put others in our thoughts above our selves. We have plenty of hours in the day to think about ourselves. Today, let us reflect on all of the sacrifices and the lives lost on this very day that felt more like yesterday and not a decade.

Photography by Jimmy Sadler