"Time heals all", they say. "It will get better", they say. "Drive on", they say.
I SAY, if you are passionate about something, it will always be a burning piece of your being. It never goes away.
When I woke up on September 11th, 2001, I was not ready for what was on that television screen. I watched in horror as one building burned and plumes of black smoke reached for the heavens. The only saving grace at that moment was that the television was on mute.
If that wasn't enough to make your skin crawl, enter United Airlines flight 175 like a hot knife through room temperature stick of butter into the south side of the south tower at the World Center. I will never forget the feeling of disbelief I had at that moment as I wondered if this was war. At no time did I think that this was an "accident". I instantly felt anger. I felt the feeling of complete devastation that comes when you first learn of a beloved family member's death. Something that I had zero direct connection to had just put me into a tailspin.
After that day, my life went from the trajectory of a good college student heading towards a safe career into a college student who struggled to find his place. I switched majors multiple times in that first year, ultimately deciding that I had a different trajectory in mind. 9/11 and my brother's love for the military were the building blocks for my enlistment into the US Army as an infantryman with the option to attend Ranger Indoctrination Program. This would allow me to become a US Army Ranger, should I pass all of the requirements along the way. It didn't hurt the cause when only a few short months later, I read the book, then watched the movie Black Hawk Down. Don't underestimate the influence of different forms of media on a young person's life. All it takes is the right timing along with some emotion.
I was on my way to do what I felt was the best way to get back for that September day in 2001.
When September 11th comes around each year, I notice that people acknowledge it less and less each year, like it is ancient history. It isn't just a day in the history books. It is a day that changed all of our lives for better and for worse. It is a day when nearly 3000 innocent people were killed by 19 hooligans with boat loads of money and training from a group that called for the destruction of our way of life. All of it. Yes, even your pink iPhone and your favorite pair of Lulu Lemon yoga pants. Even your favorite hunting knife or power tool. And most of all, your video games (oh the horror)!
When 9/11 comes around, all I ask is that you remember. You remember that our way of life was attacked.
When 9/11 comes around, think about the hundreds of thousands of people who decided to defend that way of life.
When 9/11 comes around, be thankful.
When 9/11 comes around, help your kids understand the day that the world stopped. Classes canceled, flights grounded, sports put on hold. An impending war.
If we don't learn from our history, we are bound to repeat it. I for one am not okay with that, and you shouldn't be either.
May all of the patriots that passed on that day and the days since, rest in peace. And for good measure...
RANGERS LEAD THE WAY
-Dr. Tony Brooks
aka "The doctor who gives a shit"