As Sept. 11 approaches, I’m having difficulty knowing how I should feel about this tragic day in American history.
Last year on that morning, I sat up in bed watching television as airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center. I’ll never forget those images the rest of my life.
For the past year, I’ve written several stories with angles related to Sept. 11. There was the guy who flew in to Grand Canyon airport raising money. There was the benefit to raise funds for the children of the victims. There were the stories about how Sept. 11 has damaged Grand Canyon visitation and local business.
Then there are the stories on the national level. Each day, I watch a morning news show, read two newspapers and watch evening news magazine shows. The Sept. 11 stories are seemingly endless with news agencies covering every angle imaginable.
I’m proud to be an American. I feel sorrow for the victims and anger at terrorists over what happened to our country last year. And I must admit, I’d like to see our military get rid of the man behind all of this suffering.
But I’m ready to put the terror of Sept. 11 behind me. It’s difficult to explain, but I’m basically tired of thinking about it. I want to look to the future.
It’s been said that one of the goals of the terrorists was to change the American way of life. They accomplished that goal to a large degree because our country will never be the same. But I’m adamant about not changing my way of life.
The days following the terrorist attacks were difficult for everyone. That service we had at the Shrine of the Ages was one of the toughest newspaper assignments ever for me. And I’ve covered fatal head-on collisions, homicides involving children and airplane crashes.
I’m having difficulty with how some entities or organizations are marking the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy.
I think it’s great some of the things that are going on locally ... the Squire’s planting of a tree, AirStar’s stand-down, Papillon’s involvement with getting donations and Verkamp’s sewing of quilts.
Grand Canyon School did not cancel classes, but students have plans to stage a patriotic flag ceremony. Williams and some other schools decided to not have classes so students could attend remembrance events.
I disagree with the dismissal of classes on Sept. 11. I’m afraid it’s just going to be seen as another holiday for students. Will they really attend available services? I guess those schools believe it’s important to at least give them the opportunity, whether they attend or not.
Personally, I think it would have been better to keep students in school, but have some sort of patriotic assembly or program. Perhaps someone from the American Legion could talk to students about freedom and the soldiers who died fighting for our country.
I will be out today shooting photos of Sept. 11-related events. I’ll start off at the school and snap some shots of our youth. Then I’ll head out to Tusayan for photos of the Squire’s tree-planting.
There will also be a service tonight at the Shrine of the Ages. This service will differ from last year’s event. Instead of an open mic, it’s more organized and will have more of a religious theme.
I’m not sure if I want to go to the service. And I don’t think I want to watch the Sept. 11-related events on television.
I’ll probably do the dishes, sit down with my son and help him understand his homework and then read him a book. Perhaps I’ll work out a little, take a shower and then go to bed early. Maybe there will be a ballgame on I want to watch.
To me, those are the little joys that make life in America a grand experience.
But maybe I’ll end up at tonight’s service after all. I won’t know until the time arrives, how I’m going to feel at the time.
I know they’re going to sing "America the Beautiful" and the "Star-Spangled Banner." I know if I join in, I’ll get tears in my eyes. Although I know there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s still something I’m not comfortable displaying in public.
Let’s move forward and pray we don’t have any more Sept. 11’s in our future, no more days that live in infamy. That’s probably unrealistic thinking, but it’s what I need to believe.
No, I just might do my own thing on this Sept. 11. That’s one of the great rights given to me as an American.
(Brad Fuqua is editor of the Grand Canyon News).