A New Generation

photo courtesy of CBS News

As a patriot, September 11th, has always a tough day for me. I woke up on the morning of September 11, 2001, to my little sister saying, “Umm Eryn, there was an accident. A plane flew into a building,” over my answering machine as I was slowly waking up, my heart dropped when I heard the rest.

My mother took over the call and told me the news wasn’t sure if it was an accident or intentional, but an airplane did fly into one of the Twin Towers. I flipped on the news and within a half hour watched on live tv when the second plane hit.

These memories are always in my head. I think of them randomly throughout the year, if I hear someone mention New York or the Pentagon, or if I see the new Freedom Tower shining bright on the New York skyline on television. And no matter what, when the calendar lands on September 11th, I’m in reverence that day.

This year, 2017,  I have a ten year old son in the fifth grade. I’ve been teaching him about the history of America since he was old enough to understand what I was saying. He was in pre-school when I first told him about 9/11, and every year since, I have asked if the teachers talked about September 11th. And every year he is blasé about it, saying, “No,” or “A little.”  But this year was different.  I asked him what he did at school and if he had any homework, to which he usually says no, but today he said, “Yes, I have to interview you on where you were and what you were doing when the events of 9/11 happened?”

He’s heard my recollection of it before, but still I repeated the story, getting the same chills, the same chokiness in my throat, shed the same sympathetic tears for the lives that were lost and saved that day. And after it was all said and done, I noticed how times have changed from when I was in fifth grade. I had similar assignments, asking my parents where they were when  President Kennedy was shot, or Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon.

Those events were important in their lives, and this 9/11 was a huge one in mine. It’s my recollection that will be passed down to the new generation until something spectacular or tragic happens in their timeframe… and then my son will tell his children where he was when…

 

Other related blog articles:

Positive Side of 9/11

September 11, 2001: My Personal StorySeptember 11, 2001: My Personal Story

 

 

 

 

 

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EBook Cover FFH FINAL

Read Eryn’s latest book in the

Falling for Heroes Series: Falling for Hope

falling-for-heroes-box-setFull Cover Falling for Phoenix

And catch up on the first three books Falling for Shock, Falling for Freedom, and Falling for Phoenix, in the Falling for Heroes Boxset

 

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The Positive Side of 9/11

Once again time has rolled around to this horrific day in history, September 11th. Every year since it happened I get sad and anxious all over again, thinking of the events that occurred twelve years ago. Some years I’ve simply cried all day, some years I’ve retreated to a private solace, and some years I’ve become panicked at the memories. This year I want to do something different. Something I haven’t tried before… I want to be happy.

I know that sounds strange and maybe even irreverent, but there are some good things that came from this awful day. Not many, but maybe thinking on these positive actions can displace the sadness and anxiety that is associated with this date.

This came to me this morning as I laid in bed, and turned on Facebook. My good friend Aimee Moore’s status was the first thing I saw.  It read: “Let’s Roll.”  “Let’s Roll,” the battle cry of Tom Beamer on Flight 93, as he and a bunch of other passengers aboard a doomed flight, charged the terrorists, sending the airplane into a field in Pennsylvania instead of the White House. “Let’s Roll,” was probably the most courageous and valiant story that came from the attacks. Our heroes beat the bad guys. Yes, we lost lives, and yes, it was tragic, but it was the first positive response we’d heard that day. And reading that made me think, you know, there are plenty of positive things that came from 9/11 happening that we couldn’t see at the time, because we were so wrought with grief.

In a world of the Internet and email (remember social media wasn’t quite born yet) we were already becoming a more withdrawn society. We had news at our fingertips and communication with others instantaneously thanks to cellphones and email. Who needed to see each other when you could just pick up a phone or send an email and talk to someone from the comfort of your home? September 11th brought people together. Families left work to be with their loved ones, co-workers leaned on each other in tears, and neighbors, who were strangers, sought peace in one another. We were united as one against the people who hurt our nation.

Along with that it brought a renewed appreciation for law enforcement, the fire department, and the military. Suddenly, the cops weren’t just people keeping the peace or there to pull you over for a speeding ticket. Firemen weren’t just pulling kittens out of trees and dousing run-away kitchen fires. The military weren’t just over seas running drills and guarding us from far away. No, the police and firemen worked together in New York and D.C., pulling people out of the burning buildings, leading the ones who couldn’t see away, and worked tirelessly day after day recovering the victims, so their families could rest their weary souls. As for the military, what didn’t these men and women do? They were immediately called to arms, protecting our borders and flying our flags high, ready to fight. I was in California at the time, right next to Miramar – the Marine Corp Air Station, and the second the news broke that it was a terrorist attack, I heard those jets scramble. I felt safe knowing these guys had our back, front and sides!

Last, but not least, it brought Patriotism back to a nation that was pretty blasé about their country. Flags were flown, country songs became anthems, and the Star Spangled Banner became a song that was no longer just something we sang at sporting events. We united as a nation and showed our pride against a sect of terrorist who thought they could scare us and break down our resolve.

Finally, for many it brought God back into the everyday. Our president asked us to pray for our country and we did. We turned to our churches or religious leaders for advice and comfort. We didn’t just go to church to hear a sermon of hellfire and brimstone. We already had that brewing outside. We went to church for encouragement from God and allowed Him to work in our lives so we could heal from this oozing gash. He moved in people, and little by little we came through.

So in conclusion, yes, it was an awful day. We saw people die, buildings fall and explosions in places we never thought possible. We will never ever forget this kick in the gut, but maybe we can at least try and see what good came from it.

A nation united, a small town celebrates. Plano, Illinois

A nation united, a small town celebrates.
Plano, Illinois

 

 

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EBook Cover FFH FINAL

Read Eryn’s latest book in the

Falling for Heroes Series: Falling for Hope

falling-for-heroes-box-setFull Cover Falling for Phoenix

And catch up on the first three books Falling for Shock, Falling for Freedom, and Falling for Phoenix, in the Falling for Heroes Boxset

September 11, 2001: My Personal Story

This blog has two parts to it.  I wrote both entries into a journal on September 12, 2001. I’m not going to edit or correct it, as it might distract from the feelings I had at that moment.  Well, I actually never finished the second part but I did my best to keep the same feeling and finished it up today.

I wanted to share this with the public as it captured such a terrifying moment in history.  I remember taking a walk up to the local park just to gather my thoughts.  I had to write it down, had to make sense of all the flashes of events that were running through my mind.

I never made mention of this back then, as I only had the intention of stating my own personal experience but of course, I am extremely grateful and proud of all of those who gave their lives so selfishly to help the victims of these atrocious events.  May they forever be remembered as heroes!

September 12, 2001 by Eryn LaPlant, Tierrasanta, California

History has once again been made. But this time, like many others in the past, it is a demise that has left a mark on the hearts and minds of Americans near and far.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a commercial airline jet crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center – one of the twins was mortally wounded. Mere minutes later another jet aimed for the second tower, creating an immense fiery chasm in the building identical to its brother’s.  Shortly after, hundreds of miles away, another American icon, the country’s symbol of power and protection – The Pentagon, in Washington, D.C., was hit by another airplane.  A piece of one side torn apart by a faceless killer.

Panic was firmly instilled in America.  The president secured, the government preparing for war, the country shut down to wait, watch and listen for whatever happened next.

It wasn’t too long after the first hits that yet another airplane was brought down.  This one crashed into the ground in a Pennsylvania field.  At first, no one knew the reason for this down plane except for the people on board.  Soon America found that the passengers were heroes who had come against the hijackers, diverting the plane from it’s target: the White House – The home and office of the highest ranking person our country has.

The inevitable final blow came as the once wondrous Twin Towers’ structure gave way, sending the mighty skyscrapers to the streets of New York City.  The famous Manhattan skyline was now a beauty of the past.  No longer do the majestic Towers stand. It was a day of mourning for the number one nation of power. It was a day that will go down in history.

The personal story:

In the early hours of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was awaken by the voice of my little sister, Aimee, on the answering machine saying, “Eryn umm this is Aimee, something bad happened- ”

I flew out of bed, grabbing the phone in a panic, thinking something happened to my precious ten year old sister.  I demanded to know what happened and where our mother was. Aimee immediately told me she was okay, but said that some bad guys blew up a building.  She was stumbling over her words trying to tell the story. My mom took the phone from her and explained that some hijackers flew a plane into the World Trade Center towers. In utter astonishment and disbelief I asked for more information like who did this and when did it happen!  Mom proceeded to tell me that not only were the Twin Towers hit but also one part of the Pentagon too, in the same fashion – a commercial airliner slamming into the building at full force. It was too much to take in, too much to believe, so quickly, I turned on the television news and saw that it was true.  I had to hang up the phone to digest the information and watch for myself.

The news replayed the sickening images of the planes flying into the buildings, over and over from different angles. Eye witnesses were interviewed. Panic could be heard from the surrounding crowds. Every channel had it playing.  Then as the news told of the FAA grounding all other flights, they mention that one plane has not responded. Soon they find out that it had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. It’s surmised that this one was heading to Washington D.C. too, but no answers are known  at this point.

Not long after I turned on the t.v. I watched the burning towers – those 110 story buildings come crashing down to the ground in a cloud of smoke and rubble.

I lived in San Diego, California at the time, just a handful of miles from Miramar Marine Corp Airstation base where soldiers are trained to fly F-16s. As I stayed glued to the news, one by one I heard the jets scramble into the air, most likely heading to the coast, protecting the western border of the country. It was a scary sound, knowing that they weren’t just doing maneuvers and practicing like I normally heard them, but this time were being called to duty. Yet at the same time, I felt protected knowing they were so close and ready to defend.

For the rest of the day, I tried to go about my normal routine. I had a job interview. I went to the grocery store. I came back home and was greeted by my upstairs neighbor’s giant flag hanging down his balcony wall. Numbly, found my camera and took this picture, forever cementing where I was when our country was forever changed. I never truly found the routine again. For the rest of the day I just wanted to sit in front of the t.v., hold my dogs, hold my boy friend (it was Jon, my now husband) and cry. I wanted to soak up every detail, hear every breaking story, talk to as many family members as possible.

After the eleventh it was impossible to watch the news anymore. They replayed and relived the moment of terror that gripped me so hard. I had become afraid and nervous any time something new broke into television programming. I didn’t want to see or hear it anymore, I was feeling it and that was enough. For the next few weeks the only thing I could tolerate watching were cartoons. I focused on funny and comical and those were the only things that brought me away from the every day feeling of fear and dread. I don’t think it was until the one year anniversary that I really started to feel like I could put away the anxiety and fear that this one day, September 11th, 2001 brought.

Today, September 11, 2012, I saw a man at my son’s school wearing a flag tie and it took a second to calculate what day it was, in order to understand why he showed an outward symbol of patriotism. I got a shiver up my spine I realized it was the eleventh and leaned down to Cameron, brushing his silky hair saying, “Do you know what today is?”

“No,” he says.

I smile, he was a tiny thought back when the terror happened, not even close to being alive. Still I say, “Remember last year when I told you about the bad men who crashed airplanes into the building in New York?”

“Oh yeah, I remember,” he says.

“Well, that day was today, but a bunch of years ago. It’s a special day to remember those people who fought for our country and gave their lives so that we don’t have to have these things happen to us again. Will you remember that for me?”

“Yeah, sure,” he says in his cute little way.

He will remember because I tell him. I will remember because I lived it. And together we will never forget.