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Nine Years Later … | Athens Texas Photographer

(Quick sidenote: the weekly image will be online tomorrow or Monday — been sick most of the past week!)

Always remember, never forget …

I created this image just after September 11, 2001 and each year I post it in memory of everyone who lost their life in the attacks on the WTC towers, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania, along with the rescuers that gave their lives as well.

Its hard to believe its been nine years. How far my life has evolved in that long, yet fast moving period of time — further, in fact, than I ever dreamed. Nine years ago, I was a month and a day out of my undergraduate studies, job hunting and taking classes I didn’t get to enjoy as electives due to the lack of elective hours in my bachelor’s degree. I spent the night before 9.11.01 in my World Religion class, where a classmate asked about jihad and our instructor, a pastor, encouraged discussion and helped us gain a bit of understanding as we hadn’t reached the Muslim portion of our textbook as of yet. Prior to that class, a Muslim coworker and I, after he saw me reading my textbook for that night’s class, discussed our religions, comparing and contrasting them without fear or worry.

What a difference that 24 hour period made in all of our lives.

My coworker and several of my undergrad finance classmates were of Middle Eastern descent, some here as international students, others first or second generation Americans whose parents sought a better way of life and the American Dream. I watched as they were disrespected and ridiculed for actions they had no part in. Just because some fellow Saudis back in the Middle East and Southeast Asia happened to have an extreme view of Islam doesn’t mean they all did. And I mourned like every other person who — American or not — was impacted by those hijacked airplanes who forever changed our lives. I was already patriotic as the daughter of a war veteran; now I cannot hear a patriotic song without tears flowing and thanking my lucky stars and the Lord above for living here, having my freedoms, and a military that protects them.

Nine years later, we may feel the impacts and changes created by the events of September 11, 2001 less than we did initially — unless one travels frequently — but I know I don’t take life for granted any longer. Our laws may make some feel stifled by the changes that were put into place to protect us, but I’d rather that than the alternative.

So, today, remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 — then hug your families or, if they’re not physically nearby, call them up and tell them how much you care and are grateful they’re in your lives.

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