A theme is being touched upon all over this great country today and I, too, must add my voice.
MTC for Mexico to serve a mission for our church. I remember climbing into the large van his mother had somehow gotten (borrowed from a friend, I think.) and laughing and joking, excited to see Elder Wilson as he was now called, we lumbered off into the starry morning darkness.
We got to the airport, piled out of the van and all headed up to the flight gate where we were certain to see our friend. He had just gotten a haircut and it was SHORT! But he looked so happy and excited, and it was wonderful to just be there, supporting him as he left everything that was familiar to him and went out into the great unknown of a country where he could barely speak the language, where the culture and everything was so different. He borded the plane, and we waited to watch it take off.
And we waited.
We saw the pilot get off the plane and talk to someone on the ground. We guessed they hadn't fueled up enough, or there was another minor problem.
We waited some more.
Someone overheard a conversation about a bombing in NY. None of the televisions in the airport would play the news. They had all been turned off (so as not to cause wide spread panic) but we, luckily had a radio with us. We had been making a tape for Geoff to listen to as he flew to Mexico. We turned it onto a news channel, and were suddenly surrounded by strangers. Everyone holding their breath, leaning in closer to hear. Eyes wide with confusion and fear we looked at eachother as we listened.
What a shock! No one spoke, we waited for more news. Nothing came. Just over and over the news that two planes had crashed into the twin towers.
I remember the silence as we drove back home. Silence occasionally broken by the disbelief that our precious country could be attacked like that. That so many innocent people were so mercilessly killed. I couldn't decide if I wanted to go to school that day or not. I didn't know if classes would be cancelled. I decided to go anyway. I got to class just as it was supposed to start and saw darkness. No one was in the room. I saw a note on the door that said everyone had gone to a larger room and we could go and watch the news with them if we wanted to. I didn't. Instead I met up with a friend and together we talked about the implications. The rest of the day was optional. If we wanted to go to our classes we could. I did go to my English class and rather than discussing the story we were studying my teacher opened up the floor for discussion. I felt so blessed. A girl in my class had a twin brother stuck in a subway in NY, a boy's father was there covering the story, in one way or another many of the students in my class had been affected by this great tragedy. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I didn't go to work that day. I was too shocked.
I remember the days when we could go right up to the loading gate at the airport. I remember waiting for loved ones to come off the plane, so excited to see them. I remember watching as their plane flew away in the sky.
No more. Now there is so much security. Now we have to stay down near the enterance of the airport and we have to give our goodbyes early or our greetings later. The world will never be the same becuase of that day 8 years ago. Can you believe it has been 8 years? It really doesn't seem so long.
I sometimes worry that this day will soon be forgotten. I think of the Pearl Harbor bombings and remember a time when it wasn't a big deal to me, and I wondered why people talked about it so much. Why they held a moment of silence on that day. I will never wonder again. I hope that the next generation can understand the importance of remembering this day. Remembering all the brave men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. All the good people who are no more.
A moment of silence please.