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Friday, September 9, 2011

Remembering September 11

Ten years ago, I was a new missionary in northern Chile coming home with my companion and a group of missionaries picking up Books of Mormon after a Zone Meeting. When we arrived, our mamita (landlady/caretaker) ran out and said, "You won't believe what happened in your country! A plane crashed into one of the Twin Towers!" Because I was pretty new and still working on my Spanish, I wasn't sure if I had heard or understood her correctly.

Honestly, after that moment the rest of the day is foggy in my mind. My mission president instructed missionaries to not go out for the day, and allowed us to watch the news. (The terrorist attacks were not as much of a concern for us as the fact that September 11 marks an infamous day in Chilean history and is tainted with the memories of a terrible military coup that resulted in a 17-year dictatorship and the disappearance of thousands of Chilean citizens.) My companion and I watched CNN the rest of the day, observing as tragedy unfolded. Everything was so surreal and I felt so removed from the events. The next day, life went on in Chile with the exception of those expressing their condolences for the terrible events of that day.

Now, nearly 10 years later, I still feel removed from the tragedy. I did not truly experience what the rest of the nation felt during the hours, days, weeks, months, or years following the attacks on September 11, 2001. Thankfully, I do not know what it feels like to be under attack. I can really can only sympathize and mourn the loss of 1,000s of lives, a sense of security, and way of life we once enjoyed before the War on Terror began.

The details and images of that day are sickening. The stories are both tragic and inspiring. That day, my nation experienced the best and worst of humanity. Senseless violence coupled with compassionate, selfless service. I, along with the rest of the world, could only stop and observe.


Carbonneau said...

It is quite the memory for everyone. One of those things everyone can say where they were when it happened. Something hard to explain to Chris, who was in Venezuela when it happened, is the amazing patriotism that occurred afterwards. Every other car flew a flag on it, there were American flags flying like I have NEVER seen before. That was a good feeling amidst all the bad.

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