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A Year
(September 11, 2002)

J.C. Haynes

A year. For a child waiting on something it is forever. For most adults it is just the blink of an eye, a measure of time that passes without much notice except on the calendar. I can rarely remember on any given day exactly what I was doing a year ago on that date. There are a few days in my life however that I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing on that day and at that moment, I think most people have those memories. September 11, 2001 is one of those days, one of those moments.

           I can not recall events in the days preceding the 11th, but I have not forgotten a moment since. I think about those people who lost those most dear to them on that day, and I know they remember every second of the last time they were with that person. It still disquiets me that within the span of just a few hours so much about my world and myself could change so profusely. In some ways my compassion has deepened, but with that has came the ability to hate as I have never known before.

           They say time cures all wounds, and I suppose in some ways a year has begun to heal this wound. The pain is not so unbearable, but I think that has came with the acceptance of what happen. Even after a year, I am still unable to put into words the feelings this has invoked in me, I'm not sure that will ever pass or if I want it too. Even after a year I still can't understand why they did these things or how as a country we could be so hated, and if I did know or understand would it really make a difference? Would it help me to forget the pain, the fear, the suffering or the helplessness I felt that day, that America felt that day and every day since? I don't think so, I know now that there are some things you can never forget, some you never want to forget no matter how horrendous they are.

           The only thing I know for sure after a year is that people I did not even know for reasons I can't understand, came to my home and attacked my people, innocent people. They have shown the lengths they are willing to go, to destroy everything I hold dear, to destroy a way of life made possible by the fighting and dying of thousands of men and women in the last two-hundred and twenty-five years.

           We have spent a year cleaning up the devastation on our soil and in our hearts. We can fix our buildings, but much of what has been broken in our hearts and our souls can never be repaired, will never be the same. We must see the world as it truly is, not as we wish it was or thought it was. As Americans I think it was hard for us to believe such hate and irrational thinking was so prevalent on such a large scale. I know that until a year ago I could not believe or comprehend the degree of hate that seem to be so common in the Middle East. I use to think "What is wrong with those people, they had rather fight and die than just try to get along." I had no concept of that kind of hate, but if the terrorist on 9-11 sought to teach or show me that kind of hate, they are to be congratulated, at that they did succeed. I'm sorry to say I now feel and understand that kind of hate and need for revenge, and I don't think I am alone in this sentiment.

The cost of Freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.
           -- John F. Kennedy

Blood is a cleansing and sanctifying thing, and the nation that regards it as the final horror has lost its manhood -- there are many things more horrible than bloodshed, and slavery is one of them.
           -- Padraic Pearse

About the Author (click here) © 2002 J.C. Haynes, all rights reserved
 appears here by permission

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