Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11/08

I don't do a lot of reminiscing. I'm not particularly nostalgic, or patriotic, so it seems particularly odd to write about 9/11. But I was thinking today about "where I was" when it happened, as people do seem to do that. I was in Mexico on September 11, 2001. I remember watching video footage of planes crashing into the twin towers on a small, black and white TV, and wondering what would happen to my study-abroad status. Our group was made up of people from all over the country and it was almost impossible to call home to find out what was happening to their families. I was ok, my family was in California, and though my family was scheduled to travel, they weren't traveling that day. It was all surreal. I remember standing at a payphone, crying, the day that I heard that Bush had decided to bomb Afghanistan. Even then, this seemed so futile to me, as it was clear to me that the Taliban had not hijacked any planes, and that so much was wrong with that government that had been ignored (or funded) for so long. And so much happened immediately after the 9/11 that I will never understand, because I missed it, while studying away in Mexico. My boyfriend at the time spent a night in jail for a peaceful protest he attended in Hartford, where he marched in the street. Marching in the street was a civil liberty no longer to be taken for granted. 13 students were in jail and faced huge, unaffordable to starving students, fines. My school was close to New York, and so many kids had ties or once-away-ties from people who lost relatives that day. And most of them rose to the occasion, and decided that war was not the answer. And apparently, for the majority of the country, while I was gone, love for the US became patriotism or nationalism in the form of the American flag: when I came home I was shocked and a little dismayed to see the red, white, and blue everywhere. On the drive home from the airport my parents had to stop me from pointing out every flag on every car, as there were just too many- flying a mini (or fullsized) flag from your car was the Thing To Do after 9/11. Slowly these have gone away, and so has the pain. The war is still here. And so is George Bush.

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