Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The World Stood Still

I try to keep this blog light and fluffy. There is enough negativity and darkness in the world; I like to use this platform as an escape. But every rule has to be broken at some point.

I came of age on September 11, 2001. As a sophomore at American University I was just as excited as my classmates to start my career on Capitol Hill. The world was literally open to us and we were ready to take it on. None of us ever once doubted ourselves and we knew exactly where we wanted our lives to go. Until the morning we woke up to find that the world, as we knew it, was no more. Friends lost loved ones in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Army tanks rolled down Massachusetts Avenue. Bomb threats had us running for cover. The devastation of what we saw and what we experienced changed us all. We were no longer young, naive, politico wannabes; we were all scared.

Over the next 10 years so much changed. But one thing always stayed the same, the heightened alert from that fateful day never left us. Some of us went off to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, learning to survive however possible. Others went to work on Capitol Hill and in the White House, learning to run as fast as we could away from the building when the alarm went off. More still scattered the country, always holding with them the memories of the day that changed everything.

I am a child of September 11th. I wake up every morning and, before I even go to the bathroom, turn on the news to make sure the world is still intact. I appreciate the heightened security at the airport. I can run better than most in heels, down stairs, and over barriers. I love and respect the brave men and women in our armed forces. I also view the police, fire fighters, intelligence officers, and government workers as heroes. We are all in this together. I am proud to be an American and believe with all my heart and soul that good will come out of this and that our government and military will protect us.

And today, for the first time in 10 years, I can finally take a deep breath. I can let just a little bit of the tension go that I have been holding inside of me for the last decade. Yes, I know that Osama Bin Laden's death does not mark the end of terrorism and that Al Qaeda is still a real and dangerous threat. But I also know that the world is a better place without him in it. And I pray that this small bit of justice brings peace to the families and friends who are still grieving the loss of their loved ones. I also pray that in this moment my fellow classmates and I can start to heal from, but never forget, the day that changed us all, the day that changed everything.

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