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The Day We Changed

Sometimes it feels like it has been decades, at other times it feels like it has merely been years.  The vividness of the images that we all witnessed a decade ago is still hauntingly clear.  When we chose to lift the bandage and look at the wound, we are sometimes surprised to see how fresh it is – how slowly it has healed.  The damage is permanent and while some of us have learned to live with the disfigurement, there are those of us who have grown bitter and spiteful because of it.  For those, the attack defined them and they became something different.

I fall somewhere in between those two outcomes.  I do not focus on 9/11 with a vengeful malice, but I do recognize that eternal change that was forced upon me.  What changed in me that day?  Two things that were directly injured – my eyes, and my heart.  My eyes saw something that they couldn’t accept, something that they were never meant to see.  They are forever damaged and now they don’t work the same way.  No matter the therapy, they will see the world differently. 

My heart is a different matter.  On 9/11, it stopped.  The same is true for many of us.  There was too much trauma and scarring…  Without my knowledge or consent I became the recipient of a heart transplant.  The heart I received was the same heart many of you received – that of the nation.  When I received this new heart I, for the first time, truly felt at one with the nation that I had been part of.  Still, it too was injured and scarred; only it was large enough and strong enough to endure. 

A part of me wishes that this 10 year anniversary wasn’t a big deal; that it was just another day in the process of moving on…but that won’t be the case for some of us no matter how much we desire it.  This is especially true of the real victims of 9/11 – those who have now been without their loved ones for a decade.  Today is just a reminder of how long it has been, and that their spouse, father, sister, etc. is forever gone.  It is important to remember them when our new hearts ache on this day because, in fact, it aches for them alone.



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  • Jim at Conservatives on Fire September 11, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    The revisionist would like for us to forget. We must not. More than anything else, the attack on 9/11 was an attack on the very idea of America. We must not allow the revisionist to erase this memory.
    Jim at Conservatives on Fire recently posted..Lest We Forget _ Spetmber 11, 2001My Profile

  • silverfiddle September 11, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    Thank you for the heartfelt commentary.
    silverfiddle recently posted..Bring the GWOT HomeMy Profile

  • Teresa September 11, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    We must never become complacent and forget the 9/11 attacks. Islamic Jihadists hate the United States just as much today as those hijackers did on 9/11. They hate what America stands for. We need to be ever vigilant in our fight against Muslim extremism.
    Teresa recently posted..We Must Never Ever Forget 9/11My Profile

  • Steve Dennis September 11, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Great post RHM, like you I changed on that day as well and I will never be the same. But I was one of the lucky ones because I didn’t lose anybody. Those are the people that we must remember today. We must stay forever stong and vigilant and we must never forget what happened on September 11th 2001.
    Steve Dennis recently posted..Reflections on September 11th, 2001My Profile

  • Maggie@MaggiesNotebook September 11, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    Thank you for a remembrance of what we must never forget. We must take pride in, and be fierce in, defending what Islamists are attacking.
    Maggie@MaggiesNotebook recently posted..Herman Cain Sings God Bless American: 9/11 RemembranceMy Profile

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  • Infamy | Be Sure You're RIGHT, Then Go Ahead September 11, 2011 at 1:13 PM

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  • Bob Mack September 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    On 9/11/2001, I learned all I’ll ever need to know about Islam.
    Bob Mack recently posted..InfamyMy Profile

  • TexasFred September 11, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    I am certain that on that September day there were angels among us, and I would imagine that they too wept…

    I’m a big strong guy, but I am not the least bit bothered to tell you, I wept, from anger, from compassion, from a feeling of total helplessness, and yes, even fear, not fear for myself, but fear for my family and their immediate safety…

    I was 1,500 miles from home that day and all I could think of was getting home to my wife and making sure my children were safe, and I couldn’t do that…

    None of us knew what the future held, we still don’t, but I hope with all my heart that these same angels are with us now…

    I can’t speak for all Americans, but I know that I am still hurting, every day that goes by I remember 9-11, and I don’t know if a *healing* will ever take place in me, but I pray for the lives of those affected in an even more direct fashion, I pray for our firefighters, police officer and our troops… I pray that ALL of America will wake up to the dangers around us and unite in an effort to defeat the evils that threaten our lives and freedoms.

    No matter where that evil comes from!

    I will NEVER forgive and I will NEVER forget!
    TexasFred recently posted..Sept. 11, 2001 – American Innocence LostMy Profile

  • […] IX:  Right Hand Man of the superb Sentry Journal talks about heart. Share this:TwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  • Matt September 11, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    I think many of us awakened to a new reality that day. Actually, it had been reality for some time, but it took the events of that day to wake us up to a very uncomfortable truth-that others wish for our destruction. That reality is unchanged, in spite of the efforts of others to close Pandora’s box. It can’t be willed away, or softened by propaganda. It is real, and reality has a nasty way of rearing it’s ugly head no matter the efforts to disguise it.
    Matt recently posted..Sunday Links: 9-11 Tribute EditionMy Profile

  • John Carey September 11, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    To be honest I didn’t know what to feel on that day. I was filled with sadness because of the loss of life. I was angry because it was the act of a coward. I wanted to wipe the source of this evil out and I didn’t care the methods used. I thought how could a world tolerate such evil amongst it? I changed that day. I pulled my head out of the sand and realized that there were evil forces in this world that hated America. I realized that there was no negotiating with these soulless monsters. It was us or them and I chose us.
    John Carey recently posted..The Day We ChangedMy Profile

  • Trestin September 12, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    For me I thought less about the events of 9/11 and more about what we have done since. Neither are pleasant to ponder, but we must.
    Trestin recently posted..Houston, We Have A ProblemMy Profile