As I ponder the coming anniversary of one of the most horrible dates in the history of the USA, I think back to what happened that day.
I was on my way to jury duty when I turned on the news and heard the tragic news that one of the twin towers was on fire. In shock, I listened as the announcer stated that a plane had crashed into the tower and also another one into the second tower.
Unable to believe what I was hearing, I parked and hurried to the jury waiting room. The huge television screen showed the devastation. All of us sat in shocked silence, tears running down our faces. One of the judges came into the room and told us that all trials had been cancelled for the day, but that the building was in lockdown. We could not leave. I wanted to go home and hug my family. Instead we sat there for hours staring at the television, watching all the horror play out as if it were a movie with spectacular special effects. But it wasn't a movie. It was real.
For days after, everyone drove the speed limit on the roads, even the freeways, and motorists were kind to each other. We waved and smiled when someone let us in line. And we spoke to our neighbors. Everyone seemed to be shell shocked.
I'm not sure when the change began to take place, but it did. Soon no one would let anyone into a line of traffic. Most people were out for themselves. Cars would cut others off, give lewd hand signals, or yell obscenities. Neighbors turned their heads without meeting eyes. Few people returned my smile in stores. Clerks were rude. America had returned to its former "it's all about me" state.
Why? Perhaps this attitude is what causes terrorists to target us. When did we lose our respect for ourselves and our fellow Americans? Will it take another tragedy to bring us close again? I pray not.