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Friday, September 11, 2009

What 9/11 Means to Me

I know that prior to September 11th, 2001 I knew about the concept of good and evil. I'm sure that I thought I understood them. As I look back eight years later however, I now understand that I never really did until I saw those planes hit the towers on September 11th, 2001.

At the time, I was working for a bank in the suburbs. I was running late for work and I hadn't watched any television prior to work. I was listening to music on the radio on the ride in to work. I only heard an announcement of a third plane hitting the pentagon minutes before arriving. My co worker came in with the sort of shock and excitement that only happens when they've heard news that is both stunning and extraordinary. He told me the details of what had happened. I then put the events into place in my mind.

Still, while I knew what had happened, I still didn't really understand what had happened. In fact, I worked diligently most of the day even though everyone was buzzing about what had happened. I called my parents. I called my friends. A buddy of mine called me and told me that a conference had been cancelled or he would have been in the towers. At this point, the whole set of events had still been surreal.

Then, I went over to a friend's place. It was then that I saw video of the planes hitting the buildings. It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words. The second I saw the planes hit the tower I was overwhelmed by the evil of the act. I had trouble breathing. It was hundreds of emotions hitting me at once and I had trouble coping with the evil that I had witnessed. That's all I could think about. This was evil on a scale I had never witness. I may have read about evil acts like the Holocaust, Stalin and Pol Pot, but I was witnessing this with my own eyes.

That's all I could think about. I couldn't stop pondering the magnitude of this evil. It was all made worse by the fact that the station kept replaying it over and over. Personally, I was changed. I never used to think in good and evil. Now, I do. Now, I always examine things as good and evil, right and wrong. That's because on that day I witnessed evil for all its destruction. I saw it on its grandest scale. I saw it for its maximum impact. I understood it finally not merely as an abstract concept, but as reality. So, for the first time, I understood the magnitude of being on the side of good and I determined to follow that path from that day forward.

I haven't been perfect in that question, and far from it. I have a ways to go. Still, personally, what I'll always remember about 9/11 is that this was the day that evil touched me.

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