September 11, 2008 by Marj Hatzell
It was a day that started out like any other. Around eight o’clock in the morning, I grabbed the double stroller and the dog leash and took my niece and my son for a walk with the dog. It was the most amazing day, crisp and clear, blue sky, birds chirping. The flowers were the brightest colors, the trees danced in the wind and the animals scurried about collecting treasures for the impending season.
After a while, I noticed it was so peaceful and quiet. Too quiet. I live ten minutes from the airport, y’all. I can see every plane take off, if I want to. Not one plane circled the sky. Not one engine roared as planes took off for destinations unknown. It never occurred to me why.
Until I arrived back home, that is. I went about my routine, getting the kids snacks, making my tea, flipping the news on. I wasn’t paying attention until I saw scenes of burning buildings and smoke across the Manhattan and DC skies. There was a horrible accident. No, it was a fire. No, there was an explosion. There was so much confusion, no one knew what was going on. I called my husband. My sister called. My sister-in-law called me. And I was watching as it got progressively worse.
I was still watching as the second plane hit. I watched as the towers came crashing down, one by one. I watched as the Pentagon burned out of control. I sobbed as I realized thousands died. I held the babies close, hugging them and kissing them, wondering if we were under attack. I pleaded with my husband to come home and be with me, in case it was indeed the last moment we had as a young family. My sisters and I cried on the phone together.
In a few short moments, my blissfully ignorant life changed. No longer did I have my head in the clouds, unaware of foreign affairs and politics. I stayed glued to that television for days, catching ever moment. I watched every expert, reporter and eye witness. I watched as they sifted through rubble. Then I turned it off.
That was about the moment I learned to think for myself, to formulate my opinions, for the first time in my life. I wasn’t going to take anything for granted. I wasn’t about to take someone else’s word for it. I was going to start becoming aware of what was going on in the world. After all, if I am going to hand my child the world, shouldn’t I know what kind of world I’m giving him? A wonderful place with some scary details.
In a few short weeks, people in this country have an important job. A job that does not exist in many parts of the world. A job that does not exist for many women in the world. Please, start reading everything you can. From all sides. Not just Red, not just Blue. Not left, not right. Not Elephant, not Donkey. Just learn everything you can. Read about the issues at hand. Read about their promises for a better tomorrow. Don’t believe what you read from the chain e-mails in your in-box. Don’t take photo shopped photos as truth. Don’t believe in the forwarded fowarded forwarded forwarded forward that your uncle’s neighbor’s cousin’s next-door-neighbor’s former roomate swears is the real deal. Educate yourself.
Then get out and vote.