I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I received the news that one of the Twin Towers had been hit by an airplane. My boyfriend Terreon Gully, who is now my husband, was visiting me in Atlanta. He was preparing to leave on a late morning flight to return to New York, where he lived at that time. My father, Cecil Houston, had awakened early to cook a nice breakfast for Terreon and had asked me to call one of our good friends, Lamell McMorris, to have breakfast with us. I called Lamell and he quickly stated, “Turn on the television. One of the Twin Towers has been hit.” I informed my family and immediately turned on the television. A few minutes later, we watched in horror as another plane hit the second tower….
Like me, you, too, can remember where you were when you received the news about September 11th. In fact, like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the death of Michael Jackson, almost everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing when they received the news about these American tragedies.
Everything has changed since that fateful day. Air travel has become more arduously difficult, personally intrusive and regrettably impersonal, all for the sake of security. Now, individuals have to endure burdensome travel requirements, such as extensive body searches, just to travel. Our privacy has also been invaded through having to provide detailed personal information and partake in recorded body scans. Furthermore, our personal travel experiences have forever been transformed. For instance, one of my fondest memories in college was the excitement and joy of being able to see and walk into the arms of my parents as soon as I got off the plane–an experience that I and no one else will ever enjoy. On top of all of this, people now constantly live in a paralyzing state of fear and uncertainty, forever waiting for the boogy man to strike again….
Despite these inconveniences, nothing, I mean NOTHING, compares to having to endure the loss of a loved one. There are so many individuals who lost their mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandfather, grandmother, cousin and friend on September 11th. Adding to this melee and grief are countless others who have been indirectly affected by September 11th, specifically through the wars that have resulted from this catastrophe. Thousands of people have been physically and mentally injured or lost their lives in war, which, in turn, has affected many more people and families. Additionally, let us not overlook or forget the thousands of people in the Middle East, who have lost their lives and the lives of their loved ones in war as well.
During the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of September 11th, may we all treasure, appreciate and embrace the lives of those we love. May we also recognize and value all human life. Most of all, may we be pioneers for peace in our country and countries throughout the world through promoting life, liberty, justice and peace for all.