9/11: A Ten Year Reflection

By: Dylan Rodgers

Ten years. It's been ten years now since the towers fell. When mentioned, 9/11 still causes emotions that spike anger, fear, paranoia, and sadness. It makes bodies feel weak and shudder in remembrance of that shocking and terrifying day. Ten years have flown by, and though New York and the rest of America trudges onward, our attitude remains changed.

Our borders remain open, and as time passes we seem to embrace diversity on a greater scale. In ten years we still fly cautiously, our bags and bodies checked and rechecked at every turn. A conscious fear grips people, one of the unknown, the invisible evil. In ten years we have grown accustomed to a total lack of privacy as the norm in travel, no matter our frustrations. And though we do have some kinks to work through with our system, our priorities, and etiquette, we have remained true to ourselves and our identity. Our borders remain open, functional, and busy. All in all, we have succeeded against overwhelming odds to keep some form of composure and press forward.

Our heroes and those of our children are no longer fictional characters running around in tights. Our ideas of heroism have solidified in a reality that continues to live among us to this day. They're New York's Finest; they're New York's Bravest; they're doctors, nurses, EMT's; they're our neighbors, our colleagues, and all the first responders willing to risk everything to save 9/11 survivors from one more moment of suffering. Ten years later and these people epitomize selfless courage; ten years later and these men and women still feel the toxic effects of 9/11 in their lungs and throughout their bodies. They continue to carry the immense weight of tragedy with every step.

In the face of tragedy, American spirit was reborn. We banded together in a roar of patriotism bent on righting the wrong. Families, friends, and even perfect strangers unified under a common identity. We had rediscovered our spirit, the one thing that ties us all together. It transcends race, gender, and nationality; the undercurrent that connects us all, dissolving the borders of individualism burst at our human seams. The planet felt our cries and, with 9/11 in mind, remains vigilant and focused to stifle those who deem life insignificant or worthless.

Ten years have passed and 9/11 is burned into our brains. Though we cannot begin to comprehend the intimate details of the survivor's experience, that of their families', or the experience of our heroes, we all can relate to the shift in priorities the tragedy of 9/11 initiated. Because of September 11th, 2001, we further understand the value of life. This unifying perspective carries on into every choice we make as individuals and as a country.  As we remember 9/11, we look forward and breathe, knowing that an end is also a beginning.

Photo: Brian Wallace