All day I've been reading stories, browsing pictures, and watching videos about 9/11/01.
And although I was in Utah, not near New York or Washington DC or Pennsylvania, I still feel connected to what happened that day -- probably because I am an American and I believe that, whether we like it or not, American citizens are bonded to one another through that simple fact.
So on that day I cried, in my 5th grade class, as we watched the news for 6 hours instead of learning math or going to recess. I cried because my teacher cried, my parents cried, the news reporter cried, although I was only ten years old and didn't fully understand what or why this was happening, I understood that it was wrong and devastating and life-altering. and tears seemed the only way to express that. because certainly no words could.
However, in the aftermath, as the horrible details and facts and statistics emerged, something else also became apparent: how truly charitable Americans are, how strong and willing they are to fight back.
People gathered in Federal Plaza to offer aid on that first afternoon after the Twin Towers fell. Thousands of New Yorkers stood in lines all over the city to donate their blood, doing whatever they could to aid in the relief effort, to say nothing of those incredible men and women who's stories of sacrifice and absolute selflessness to rescue others still make me cry, even 11 years later.
[I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.]