I am already taking hits for this, but on 9/11/11, at 7:46 am, I will be sitting down with my children to watch the A&E special 102 Minutes that Changed America. Even at their young age, they NEED to understand what happened at to what extent it happened. . .because it has molded us, it has molded me, it has molded who I am raising them to be.
My daughter was 4 months old when the attacks occurred. I can even tell you what I was wearing that day. I was already emotional after a rather *interesting* evening the night before, and was catching the local news when a report of a plane striking the first tower came in. Always the newshound I kept watching, dismissing it as a simple Cessna freak-accident, when I found myself paralyzed in horror as I watched a second plane come in and strike the other tower on live television.
My life stopped, and it felt rather out-of-body-experience-ish for me for a few moments. Did I just see what I saw? What do I do? What’s going to happen to my baby? I called my husband at work, sobbing and screaming at him to come home. At the time, I had *not a soul* in St. Louis. I was completely alone. My friends were the people on my television reporting back what was going on to me.
At one point, I called my husband again, trying to make sense of what was going on, and I remember suddenly saying “The North Tower is gone!” He said “What do you mean, gone?” I said “It went down!” He replied “What do you mean down? That’s impossib. . .OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!!” (My husband works for an AV company, so they had televisions set up everywhere streaming live) It all just happened that fast.
I called (when I could get through) my parents and my brother to make sure they were okay. Then I got my daughter changed, and I headed out. I got cash, filled up my gas tank as I was already watching the prices go up shortly after the second tower had fallen. I got some groceries, when I remembered that I had a cousin in the Pentagon. It was no use, as the cell lines were jammed.
I remember talking to my brother a lot that day, and hugging my husband when he got home like I never had before. For the next 3 days, I remained glued to the television with very little sleep watching heroes emerge and lives saved. I particularly remember an image of a woman looking out her window at the then burning towers, clutching what looked to be a 3-month old. It was that precise moment, I knew, something had been birthed in me. At that moment I was overcome by righteous indignation. God gave me the baby I was holding in my arms as I sobbed over that image, as a gift. . . a gift with great responsibility. In that moment, I knew that I was charged with the task of protecting that child (and eventually my son), no matter what the obstacle, no matter how tough, how large the fight. Whether it was lunatic terrorists in a plane, or a very wealthy, powerful machine out of control, I was going to protect my children from it, or die trying.
It was in that singular moment, though I didn’t know it at the time, the Tea Partier was born. I spent eight years after that terrible moment in history believing that I was simply a justice-minded truth-seeker. I now know that there is so much more to it.
I will continue on everyday, fighting for the future of my country, the future for my children. . .and I do it all with the honor of having them fight right beside me. The torch will have to be passed some day. And to think this was all waged out of 102 minutes of pure terror.
If you have not seen this yet, take 10 minutes out of your day…and never forget: