20 years. 20 years of terror, violence, hatred, anger, and war. 20 years of humanity steeped and born and grown in a petri dish of negative emotion. 20 years! Just shy of half my lifetime! There is a generation that has grown up in this. A generation that can only now say that they remember a time when their countries weren’t at war with each other.
Yes, I remember. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on this day 20 years ago. I remember exactly what was going through my mind. I remember the loss of our collective innocence. I remember the absolutely deafening silence of living near an international airport and air force base from which no planes were flying. I remember the sound of silence…no planes, no birds, no insects, no nothing! I remember like it was yesterday.
My body. My body remembers it too! My body remembers the emotions: the fear, the confusion, the anger, the distress, the terror. These are what my body remembers. It remembers trying to survive surrounded and bombarded by all that negative emotion…for 20 years.
I cannot pretend to know what it is like to be a family member or survivor from New York or the Pentagon. I cannot pretend to know what was going through the minds of those brave souls who took back control of a hijacked plane over Shanksville. I cannot pretend to know what it is like to be a veteran, survivor, or refugee of a 20 year long war. I cannot.
But I remember and I mourn.