What a difference a decade makes

I usually try to avoid all subjects involving war, religion, politics and the like. I prefer to stay on topic about things that actually make me smile — not make my blood boil. But the death of Osama bin Laden this week is a topic that just can’t be avoided. An event so significant in this day and age that if you didn’t feel anything at all, people might question your sanity. Suffice it to say, I felt a lot. But it was less of a rant or a rave. (Okay, well maybe it was a few rants and a few raves with Mikey while doing the dishes in the privacy of my own home.) But it was more of a reflection of how much has changed in the past ten years since September 11, 2001. A few examples:

I will never look at quart-size Ziploc bags again.  No longer do we buy these Ziploc bags for food storage, my friends. Their sole purpose in our household is for business travel when I have to strategically pack my 3-oz toiletry bottles into a quart-size Ziploc bag and then into an easily accessible location of my suitcase. This is not a complaint. It’s the reality of what quart-size Ziploc bags have come to represent. Ask me what the purpose of a quart-size Ziploc bag was 10 years ago, and I would’ve told you it was a mechanism for storing strawberries.

Any movie from the 1990s or earlier that features the Twin Towers becomes an instant gut-wrencher. It’s a sinking feeling to see the World Trade Center on a TV screen from back in the day. I think there are a couple episodes of Sex & the City that catch a glimpse of the towers. And a movie I watched most recently, Remember Me, took a surprising twist that ended at the site of the Twin Towers. I won’t go into detail and give the ending away, but the movie was depressing to begin with and even more depressing when coupled with scenes at the WTC. (Sorry, Twilight fans, even Robert Pattison’s hunk status couldn’t escape the melancholy vibe.)

Terrorism became real at the age of 17 and is alive and well at the age of 26.  9/11 happened when I was a senior in high school. I remember sitting in Mrs. Hoerner’s first period psychology class when the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center. At first, I didn’t understand the severity of what had happened. But as the day wore on, the news reports kept worsening. Our teachers walked away from their lesson plans, and every class felt like a counseling session. Terrorism — a word I was so vaguely familiar with, a concept I never thought would hit so close to home — was the vocabulary word of the day. It continues to be today.

Pride is bursting at the seams for my military brat status.  My dad served in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years. And that only scratches the surface of my family’s military history. Growing up, I was not a huge fan of the constant relocating from one Air Force base to another. But now, I understand that always being the new girl at school has taught me well, made me resilient and completely adaptable to any situation. In fact, I am so proud of my military bratness that I often consider putting it on my resume.

That pride for being a military brat has swelled considerably since 9/11. Seeing news reports and watching movies about lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan triggers a different kind of sorrow when I think about what the military has done for my family. And likewise, there was a different kind of appreciation and feeling of triumph that was triggered when the most notorious face of terrorism was taken down by our military this week.

One of many photos of me and Mikey, boasting our American pride. Here we are at Punch Bowl Cemetery, during our 2007 vacation to Hawaii. A number of World War II veterans are buried here.

In closing (wow, this is probably the most formal blog post I’ve ever written), I apologize if this post was not up your alley. These are touchy subjects and a little off-topic from what I usually blog about. But like I said, it’s a newsworthy piece that’s too much of an impact to ignore. I promise more lighthearted posts are on the way.

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