Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11

Do you remember how you felt when you found out about 9/11? I found out after the first plane hit, but before the second. I watched in awe as the second plane hit the second tour. I forgot how horrifying it was until I watched a couple videos today.

Memorials focus on the heroism of the emergency response personnel. We focus primarily on the brave fire fighters, but there were also paramedics, nurses, police, and just regular people helping. We also focus on Flight 93, those unlikely heroes who literally sacrificed themselves to ensure no one else would be hurt. But we don't focus on the sheer terror and horror of the day.

Videos like this remind me of the emotion. There are countless other examples: the absurdity and disbelief I felt when I saw businessmen and women running in their suits, the absolute horror from watching the jumping men, the extreme sadness when I saw images of family members taking pictures of their loved ones to shelters to try to find missing people. There are countless images and videos that remind us of the day. We prefer not to watch them, but today I did.

I may not be American, but Americans may rest assured that Canadians (as with many other nations in the world, I am sure) stand by you on 9/11. We lost only 24 Canadians in the World Trade Center collapse, a fraction compared to the Americans. We opened our arms and welcomed 225 American flights with almost 45,000 passengers, all of which were barred from landing at American airports and ordered by NORAD to land in Canada. We closed our airspace in order to accommodate the diverted flights, as well as the military and humanitarian aid we sent south. For example, in a small town (population 9,000) called Gander, the town welcomed 7,000 Americans for four days. We had Canadian Red Cross and other volunteers go help. After 9/11, we put up with years of disgust and hatred from some Americans because we were accused of letting terrorists into North America who then masterminded the 9/11 attacks (later it was confirmed that not one terrorist involved in 9/11 entered North America through Canada). We also put up with enmity from some Americans for not joining the war on Iraq. And as your paranoia starts to subside, we are welcomed back as friends and allies (in Afghanistan).

But - no matter what - we mourn with you, every year, on 9/11.

2 comments:

Margarita said...

A great post and really good way to show how grateful we are to our neighbours, and how we would help anyone in need!

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