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What Did You Lose on 9/11/01?

September 9, 2016 , , , , ,

Ranching

Ranching

I have a solid memory of the morning of September 11, 2001. My father called me on the phone and told me the Pentagon had just been hit. I said “It’s just a Pentagon.” Then I turned on the TV news, and to my horror, learned about the tragic events that had taken place while I was rocking and rolling around my house, blissfully unaware.  Those of us who were alive when JFK was shot all had a spooky feeling that this terror was all connected. The axis of evil had landed on our shores, and nothing would ever be the same.  We lost our innocence, and many of us also lost our minds.

The first responders, and their sacrifices, came into focus like never before in modern history. The risks and the losses they take every day started to hit home in the hearts and minds of American citizens.  Many folks joined the military because they felt the need to do something to protect our country.  We got a Department of Homeland Security and the borders started getting way tighter.  I was well aware of the border phenomena because I was working as a wetback gringa in Mexico at the time.  Suddenly the Tecate border crossing, which had always been almost a joke border, became very strict.  This clogged up the traffic, which would back up for blocks in Tecate, BC, waiting to cross.  There were people who would wait in the line for you for a fee, and those people had all the work they wanted. Since I was a guest instructor, spending only a couple of weeks at time down there, the border issue really put a wet blanket on my commute.  I had to drive 6 hours from Tucson, which I had accepted.  I just could not handle waiting an hour in bumper to bumper traffic while waiting to leave the country.  I determined after a couple of years that Mexico, lindo y querido, was no longer fun for me.  I have not crossed the border since 2003.  I have not seen the border wall, and I may never see it.

Things changed for the worse in Mexico because all kinds of people who had walked to the border from Guatemala, Chiapas, or Nicaragua were stuck.  They had few options.  The criminal element suddenly had a huge influx of desperate people to employ, a boon to smuggling and anything else they cared to do.  They probably started digging new tunnels all over the place with their new source of  labor.   Our tiny town of TKT (the local way to spell Tecate) went from safe to wildly violent overnight.  One of my Mexican colleagues came in to work all freaked out because she had discovered her boyfriend, chopped up in the trunk of a car.  We went from zero to chopped up in the trunk of a car in no time.  It was no longer safe for me to ride the public bus to Tijuana, use the route taxis to go to to the beach , or generally live it up in borderlandia.  The party was over, but it had been very good while it lasted.

Now we mark the date with remembrance of the solemn occasion.  I am afraid that the meaning is being lost.  People are using it to sell merchandise, which really offends me.  We all lost something on that day.  I lost a country and a culture that I loved dearly.  I mean Mexico when I say that, but in many ways my own country endured a cultural change from which we will not recover.  What did you personally lose, gentle reader?

Loss of dignity at the mattress store

What do you think?

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comments

I think in a way, we all lost our innocence that day. I’m in Canada and it affected us also. Maybe not with a boom in violence, but certainly in security. In the to-this-day fear of whether we’re safe to go to the mall or not. Terrorism is supposedly based on religion. How can it be if they feel the answer is to kill?

Liked by 2 people

Jacquie Biggar

September 9, 2016

Thanks Jacquie. I think most of us down here think of our neighbors up north as living in (cold) heaven..with that totally cute PM…but this terror gig we have now is worldwide and flows into all places and things. Sad.

Liked by 2 people

Pamela Morse

September 9, 2016

Lol, yes, he is pretty cute 🙂

Liked by 2 people

Jacquie Biggar

September 9, 2016

I was in high school when 9/11 happened, in I believe 9th grade. I feel that I lost innocence, and the fantasy life that the world is good. I live a few hours from where the plane went down in Pennsylvania, about an hour north of Pittsburgh, and our school was put on lock down, our parents had to come and get us if they wanted. It was scary, we didn’t really know what was happening, though we were watching it on the news in class, and when we got home, at least myself and many of my friends, continued to watch the events for days, maybe a couple of months even. We saw a country change that we felt was safe from other terror in the world, we lost freedom, and we lost I feel part of our childhood. The reality came to us that war can happen on our streets, in our safety zone. No longer could we go with our parents or grandparents to the airport to watch planes take off without having to be going somewhere. We would never be able to share that past time with our children when we got older. Even though the people that died that day were not our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, etc…we still lost our fellow human being. Then as the result of that day a war started, that seems as though it can’t have an end, because you can’t take out every terrorist in the world, that would be part of a perfect world, and where one organization falls another will pop up some place else, we would, after graduating, lose our friends and people we went to school with and knew maybe since kindergarten to a war in somebody else’s home. We would lose some to depression, alcoholism, drugs and PTSD when they came back home, as the result of trauma from the war. We lost a safe planet that day, and the freedom to love and accept people no matter what they look like, who they are, what religion they are, where they come from, etc..We lost what we knew as home, and gained (if you can even call it that) a new found hatred for people and things we don’t know or understand, we gained hatred towards our own people as well, and also lost the ability to trust that we are safe just going to a movie or on a trip to Disney World even.

Liked by 1 person

csiceloff85

September 10, 2016

I was in the 8th grade in Pittsburgh when JFK was shot. We had no such thing as lockdown at that time. There was a rifle range in the basement of our school..for students..another time completely. We do all feel the loss, and we carry it for generations. Thanks you so much for this poignant and very well written answer.

Liked by 1 person

Pamela Morse

September 10, 2016

I remember where I was. I was headed to the gym when the TV showed tower 1 smoking and about to go down. I went on to the gym.. reeling with the shock.. my mind full of questions. I went into exercise class and just as we were about to start, tower 2 got hit and that was on TV there. The gasp couldn’t have been louder and the dreadful silence was still louder than that. All the tvs in the gym switched back and forth between news programming and workout content. When both towers fell, class was over since so many people were packing up.
As I drove home, I thought about all my friends in NYC and Penn where the other plane went down. I thought about friends in DC too. VERY scary… and I realized my child would grow up in this world. I kept hoping that people would be found alive. A few did. I checked in with friends in NYC . to find out how they were. Just to be sure. because one more loss might be one too many

Liked by 1 person

Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

September 11, 2016

I think if I had been out in pubic rather than alone at home I might have been more freaked out, especially if I had to drive home in LA. I can’t quite image watching it unfold in an exercise class..so surreal. Thanks for your comment and insight, Stevie. The biggest deal is that all the generations to come will have this scar.

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Pamela Morse

September 11, 2016

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