15 years seems like yesterday

It’s interesting how Sept. 11 went from being a day on the calendar to actually being something, you know what I mean? You just say the date and people know what you are talking about. It’s not like the events were given a name like other tragedies, this went down in history as a date. I guess that’s how much happened that one name or title couldn’t sum it up accurately.

As Canadians we were shocked that something like that could happen to our neighbours to the south. Thousands of innocent people were killed – though I don’t really need to recap the story for you. On the 15th anniversary, I watched a whole bunch of the TV specials, documentaries and movies about the terrorist attacks.

MSNBC aired the Today show in real time at the exact time of morning as things unfolded that day 15 years ago. There was something strange about watching it play out because even though I knew what was going to happen – one plane, second plane, one collapse, second collapse – I still got goosebumps when I saw the second plane fly into frame and hit the building. The moment of impact is the exact moment my arm got tingly.

I watched George Bush talk about what he went through that day. I watched survivors recount their stories about the struggle to get out alive. I watched with tears the loved ones pleading for any information about their missing family members.

For a brief time I tuned into social media to see what people were writing and posting. Many people were commenting about “where they were when…” There is something strange about that. I realize we all have a memory about where we were but the story should never be about me. I was just a viewer. It doesn’t matter where I was. So many people had dramatic and detailed stories about all of their memories that day and it almost overshadowed what was actually going on, considering they weren’t involved whatsoever.

My answer has always been, “It doesn’t matter where I was. It matters where those people were.”

We’ve had 15 years of seeing the same sad images over and over again. But there is still something new about it when you see it for the hundredth time. There’s nothing you can do to change the outcome but you still can’t help but watch and relive the pain.

As a society, when will we get beyond it? I’m not saying to forget it ever happened but how long will it take before the goosebumps go away? Is there a set period of time? Is it when we stop subjecting ourselves to the visuals?

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