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Posts Tagged ‘Libya’

One year ago today, Bart and I boarded a plane to Europe for a two-week graduation present to celebrate my recent PhD. I’m not going to lie–spending 14 days in Europe in 2012 was awesome, but it was even more awesome because we skipped two full weeks of incessant presidential race coverage (with one small exception while we were in Zurich, which is a great story you should ask me about sometime!). However, we were also largely unaware of the events unfolding in Libya as we were boarding our plane that day. The harsh reality of current events, both presidential and otherwise, crashed back to us upon our return.

We felt our greatest tribute that day was our simple act of boarding an airplane. Eleven years prior, such a simple act changed America’s way of life forever: what better way to thumb our nose at terror than to not be terrified to live our lives.

Twelve years ago today, I was a sleepy college student, struggling to wake up for my physics lab that Tuesday morning, when my roommate came back from the dorm bathrooms and turned the TV on in our dorm room. Why she would do such a thing was beyond me, but through my grogginess it was clear that something life-changing was happening.

That day, and following days, at the university were surreal. I was supposed to have a quiz in Calc 3, but all we could do was stare at the repeating coverage on the TV that was on in our room; nobody could bear to turn it off. Work was suspended, activities cancelled; students called their moms and huddled in dorm rooms. It was so far away, yet so near.

Living in Washington, D.C. for this anniversary gives me a totally different perspective on that day. Many of the people I now know lived here then and were mere miles away from the Pentagon when that collision happened. From DC to Pennsylvania to NYC, it literally and figuratively hit closer to home here. But the resulting shock wave hit us all.

It’s also interesting to know that I sit in my office just three or so miles from where people are gathering and rallying near the Capitol. No matter your take on the event, we all still remember.

And we should not forget. I realize that, just as the impact of Pearl Harbor pales in the minds of our generation compared to those of The Greatest Generation who lived it, September 11 will necessarily mean something else to our children and grandchildren than it means to us. But we will teach the coming generations about it, so the lessons learned and lives lost will not be forgotten. We will teach them so the freedom of our way of life, and threats against it, will never be taken for granted.

Where were you?

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