I had just arrived at work that morning and I could hear a distant buzzing sound coming from the staff lunch room. The television was on and that could only mean one thing, something important was on the news.
There were times when news simply superseded work, it would seem as though this was one of those moments. Curious, I went into the staff room to see what the chatter was all about.
For a moment, I felt like I was frozen in time, I just could not believe what I was seeing. It was like waiting for a slap I knew I was about to get but no matter how much I anticipated it, it still came like a giant shockwave. There, right before my eyes on the television was a plane about to crash into the twin towers. The twin towers were located in the heart of New York City.
Rationalizing in my mind what had just happened, I thought, perhaps the control tower made an error. That moment’s thought was overpowered by the reality that another plane had just crashed into the other side of the tower. A harrowing silence ensued when the towers fell to the ground – it was silent for most of the day in the office.
As I looked around people appeared solace, reflecting; perhaps they were just trying to make sense of it all. My initial reaction was panic; I thought that this may be some kind of act of war. Could this be the beginning of World War III? This was somewhat solidified in my mind when yet another plane came crashing down. World War III (at least in in my mind) began that day.
Perhaps it was simple retribution that I was seeking or maybe I was just relieve that it was not really the start of World War III, I do not truly know, all I do know is, when President Bush finally spoke, I felt a sense of calm.
I had never been more proud of the United States then I was on that day.
I am not a political person, I do not believe in war, but sometimes it is like the song Coward of the County says; “Sometimes you got to fight when you’re a man.” Their resolve as a nation on September 11th, 2001 and the days that ensued was something that I have come to admire.
I remember thinking if Canada does not join in this fight, I would no longer feel proud to be part of this country. Our neighbors needed us to stand beside them as they had often done so for us.
When the news came that Canada would in fact join in the fight to end terrorism, I was once again proud to be a Canadian. I have never been more proud.
Canadians forces abroad have answered the call of duty and sacrificed their lives so terrorism would not live to see another day. There were 157 Canadian armed forces soldiers who died in Afghanistan, 18% of those are from Montreal and its surrounding areas. Of the 157, almost 75% of them were junior ranking officers. This would indicate that most of them were probably under the age of thirty.
The events of that day created heroes in the United States and all around the world; this is what we need to think about when we remember the tenth anniversary of this day. We need to remember the neighbors, friends and allies who offered a helping hand.
I will always remember the Montreal and Canadian armed forces soldiers; ordinary heroes in every sense of the word, who put their own lives in danger to make sure that the events of 9/11 will never be forgotten or duplicated. Go now and rest in peace knowing the world has changed because you made a difference in it.