A New America

Stumbling around old junk and filing things away tonight, I made a very ironic discovery. An old editorial I had written while in college about THE day. September 11. How eerie being that the very Tuesday is upon us.

Another irony: The editorial was attached with a rejection letter from the company I work for today. I don’t blame them for the rejection. However as I was retyping the letter for this blog, I felt all that terrifying emotion of 9/11 all over again. I will admit the tears from remembering that day came upon me. And in the end I had written what was/is still raw to me. Look pass the green around the gills nature of it and think back to what you were doing that day…

A New America

I should have known by the way it stayed wet and gray for a week before it happened.

The air seemed different somehow but it wasn’t just the constant rain that made breathing hard or the constant humidity. Humidity so thick the atmosphere hung like a noose over every passerby. The depression sunk in and I suddenly wondering why the rain bothered me so much. Texas is notorious for strange weather but it seemed to be something more — something felt wrong.

So that morning I peeled myself from the warmth of the covers. The sleep I attempted the night before was unsettled and sporadic. As I tried to shake off the exhaustion, my forehead crinkled a bit and I whimpered at the idea of starting my day. My thoughts were still wrestling in the waves of melancholy. First instinct: Turn on the radio. Second instinct: Make sure it’s loud. I had forgotten that I had left the stereo on an alternative station but my anxious dial turning fingers froze at the news my very non-favorite DJ delivered. He was speaking about something no American plans to hear at 9 a.m. For some reason the only words I understood followed this order: Pentagon. New York. Terrorists. All the other words blurred as I ran to the television.

To my rapidly gained realization, the pieces of my confusion were suddenly being glued together with images too shocking to compute. I called my father who I was extremely surprised did not call me first considering he is the master of current events. He did not know. It happened so quickly. School seemed unimportant somehow but I still needed to get to class. How could I not being that my father encouraged me to go? I got showered and got dressed to the news blaring in the den. I rushed to the car and every radio station I programmed was covering the tragedy, our tragedy.

Two planes ripped into the World Trade Center towers in New York; another destroyed a part of the Pentagon. More than thousands lost or dead. I called my mother as soon as I was on my way. She had just finished crying — one of the towers had collapsed due to the extreme impact of the plane. Mom cried. I can count on my hand how many times I have actually seen her weep.

There is no need to go into detail. We all know what happened. Every business has a lowered flag in front of their building as cars pass by with red, white and blue ribbons flying high on antennas. Every store is sold out of our nation’s flag as billboards of churches and restaurants proclaim God Bless America and United We Stand.

How will this affect the way people perceive life? In my generation, being a young person means our sense of direction is ornamented with responsibilities, the quest for complete education and the hopes of achieving every goal we set. I may not speak for the nation’s youth, but for me the path is now marred. The edges are rough with uncertainty, jagged with sorrow and covered in the debris of disbelief. What now? Business as usual is difficult. Everyday new coverage and constant red, white and blue reminders populate the city. We shouldn’t forget. We dare not. But where do you go from here when an already undetermined future becomes even more uncertain and laden with catastrophe?

11 responses to this post.

  1. Very well written, AJ. Nicely done.

    And thanks for your lovely comments about my 9/11 post. I’m flattered.



  2. I remember it so well myself – just horrifying. The images are still engraved in my mind and I can easily be brought to tears at when I see the images on the television.

    I don’t think I will be able to turn on the television tomorrow for fear they will show (on a loop) the planes hitting the towers. I will not be able to handle it.

    I wrote on the subject today as well.



  3. AJJ, thank you for sharing that. I wish more people would share things like that. There is so much emphasis on the events of that day, and not enough focus on the feelings. Each of us has their story from that day, and I think that each of us should be willing to share the feelings. These are the things that bind us together on that day that threatened to tear us all apart. With each story and each feeling that comes from that day comes another way to bind us together; if even just a little bit. That is why my story is always prominently available as a page instead of a post, and although not many read, some who have have either commented or emailed me regarding their own connection to either the day or to my story specifically. It’s very awe-inspiring.

    Yesterday I chose to open it up even further in a post, with the hopes that people could get a better understanding as to what my world was like on the 10th and then on the 11th and on through today. We can’t lose these ties that bound us together through our darkest days. We all lost our innocence that day, and that will always be something that we have as common ground, and I always hope that it can be something with which we build off of and use to come together.

    Again, thank you.


  4. It was interesting to read your take on that day. It’s fascinating to see how other people experienced it in their own place. I was working that day, but I’ve already written about that.

    Well done, AJ.


  5. Thanks to everyone for sharing.

    Laurie: Many should read your take on that day. I encourage you all to take a look. It has the right message attached.

    Arc: I didn’t know you had a page about it. I will read it today. I really appreciated your thoughtfulness. I can’t even imagine being in the military when that day happened. Your honesty is always a great read.

    Chris: I completely understand. I’ve got Good Morning America blarring downstairs. Not sure if I want to watch.

    Jen: That day was so different for everyone. But as Arc said, it was a day that brought us together. The day that made us all AMERICANS and not divided.


  6. I enjoyed your take on that ill fated day six years ago. I remember that day so well. Being an old soldier, it took be back to the days of Vietnam in too many ways.. yeah.. I remember. I did a post myself on 9/11. I will be adding a link to your blog on mine if that’s cool with you. Thanks for sharing, a new America for sure.


  7. It is one tough subject. AJJ you described it perfectly then as it is now; it is raw. Somehow you thought/wished the wound wouldn’t still feel fresh.


  8. Sure Morris. I don’t mind at all and I’ll go check yours out and do the same.


  9. Mike: It has yet to heal and I wonder if it ever really will.


  10. Hello Arm Jerker J.,

    You may, or may not, remember the antisocialist from the other day, when he made you “hot under the collar” over at arclightzero’s excellent blog. That, for the record, was not necessarily the antisocialist’s intention, but he confesses to being secretly thrilled when he heard about it.

    Also, he wants you to know that those words he said were entirely true.

    Well, thank you for making the antisocialist feel so very welcome here on his first visit through; thank you most of all for your fine, fine writing style, the high point of which, at least in the post above, is this: “My thoughts were still wrestling in waves of melancholy.”

    Best of all possible regards.


  11. Thanks antisocialist.
    I appreciate the compliment and best to you as well.


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