Everyone remembers where they were 11 years ago today. It’s one of those days. And, even though I understand that significantly more innocent lives have been lost in the wars that erupted out of this day, I still always take a minute to remember where I was and what this day meant not only to our neighbours to the south but to Canada as well.
Today the number 11 seems to be following me around. 11 years ago on September 11th I was in the second week of the 11th grade. I had just started at a new school, in a new town, far away from home (Rosthern Junior College, a boarding school in small town Saskatchewan). I remember being ushered quickly to the chapel with the rest of the student body while rumours floated around the air. “I heard that a plane crashed.” “I heard there was a bomb at the White House.” In our tiny school in that tiny rural town, we were about as removed from the situation as you could get, and yet it still felt too close to us.
We sat in the dark chapel, the news projected on to one of the walls. We watched those towers fall, in real time.
This year when we went to New York, we visited ground zero. The thing I take away from that experience was just how small, compacted and tight lower Manhattan is. As I stood at the foot of the new One World Trade Center I just couldn’t help but picture that day in those jam-packed city streets. Manhattan is an island, and at its widest it only spans two miles. There would have been no where to run but north, through the twisting streets. It was an awful thought and made it all the more real to me.
I’m a big proponent of peace. I don’t think the wars that were launched to avenge this day were right. Many many innocent Iraqis, Afghans and soldiers have died because of it.
On days like today, the saying that has been adopted by the Mennonites for Remembrance Day seems pretty appropriate: To Remember is to Work for Peace. We should remember this day and we should actively work toward never having to experience another day like it.