Yesterday morning I awoke with thoughts of an injured friend on my mind, believing little could surpass the horror of the hit-and-run accident she endured. Five minutes later I was proven terribly wrong by the unreal television images of the World Trade Center collapsing, and so today I awoke thinking of not one but thousands of victims throughout the United States.
Few events have the power to so drastically change one’s perspective as loss of life, and a devastation of the magnitude experienced Tuesday will undoubtedly stay embedded in our hearts and minds for a long time. To say that worries of school and work seem comparatively trivial appears as vast understatement. No matter our race, sex, religion or age, our lives have been forever changed. We have been most abruptly united through tragedy.
As the shock begins to subside, we realize that we are no longer the same country we were yesterday. These acts of terrorism challenge not only our security but also our conceptions of world stature and our country’s identity. As news anchors and commentators observed, we have not experienced such an extensive attack upon American soil since the Second World War.
In the past, we had been able to geographically distance ourselves from the turmoil throughout the world, whether it was in the Balkans, the Gaza Strip or Rwanda. Consequently, these attacks most violently demonstrate our connection to the rest of the world; they have threatened us to our very core. Our position as a military and political superpower matters little when we prove ourselves to be so vulnerable to an act of terrorism.
In the days to come, we will undoubtedly be left with more questions than answers as we search for meaning, but we can be sure that September 11, 2001 will be a day that will not be forgotten in our national conscious.