9/11 is a date that will forever be etched in the mind of most Americans and even those who may have been too young to fully understand the magnitude of this tragedy are now at that age where they are about to embark on their journey into the world that had forever been changed. All these years later, I still remember it being My Wakeup Call literally and figuratively reminding me that nothing is permanent and to explore “my own backyard” through frequent day trips and road trips hence this blogpost years later, Around the Bay and Away.
My Wakeup Call
Joyce Zee, Previously Published on Yahoo Contributor Network
9/11 Was My Wake-up Call To Spend More Time with Family
When the phone rang that morning, I half expected the voice of Mickey Mouse telling me to rise and shine like it did just a few weeks before. However there was no happily ever after that day as the sweet dream unfolded into a national nightmare.
From the moment my cousin woke me up warning me about the 4th hijacked plane that may be headed for San Francisco where I worked to watching the second tower collapse, I felt such a loss. Having spent most of my childhood and adolescent years in the NY/NJ area, I cried uncontrollably as the decimation not only altered my current sense of security forever but also the loss of innocence for the 5 year old girl that admired the sturdy "two tall buildings" with awe all those years ago. The realization that nothing is invincible and like human life is finite dawned on me. I was very fortunate to not have lost close friends or family during this tragedy but my heart ached for the families of the victims who did not expect to either as they parted that morning.
The importance of time with my family and my desire to not take anybody or anything for granted increased exponentially in the aftermath. Admittedly, I was as guilty as the next person rushing past sights that others pay thousands of dollars to travel to see in person. In fact, it took me over 10 years back East before I finally visited the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and many NY sites two weeks before moving to California for college and I am forever grateful I got a chance to go back one more time to share it with my new husband less than a year before 9/11.
Not wanting to make the same mistake twice especially after this huge wakeup call, figuratively and literally, I decided not to put off to later what I can experience today with the ones I love. Instead of waiting until an out of town guest blew into town or another move, I became a tourist in my own backyard often with my family in tow and with a heightened awareness of my surroundings and have been ever since. As years passed and most flags that went up slowly came down and many Americans return to their "normal" busy schedule called life, I still find myself at times feeling that heightened sense of appreciation and pride for this beautiful country before me. Remembrance is key as I stop to stare at the full moon reflected off the bay in the distance through my window where my flag, although a bit faded still hangs proudly all these years later.