Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How different we are

I remember, just weeks before September 11th, going to the airport with a friend. I was able to walk with her all the way to the flight gate. Angela was with me and able to watch the plane take off. It was easy. It was uncomplicated. It was relaxed.

Today when I fly, the difference starts with the packing. No liquids other than what can fit in a small ziplock bag, none of them in containers more than 3 ounces.

I try to wear slip on shoes and no belt. I bought a "checkpoint friendly" carry on that allows me to quickly and easily remove my computer.

Dean drops me off at the front doors. We say our goodbyes with a quick hug and kiss as security personal hurry us along, not allowing a car to idle more than a few seconds.

I enter the airport, check my bag, then move to stand in the long security checkpoint line. I present my boarding pass and drivers license they can be checked against the "no fly list".

When it's finally my turn I quickly remove my shoes, belt if I'm wearing one, jacket or sweatshirt and put them in a bin to slide through the X-ray scanner. I remove my carry-on from my shoulder, quickly sliding my computer out of it's slot into another bin. I stand, boarding pass and passport in hand, waiting until the TSA agent tells me to step through the metal detector.

From there I stand in either a fancy X-ray booth or am moved to a different booth for a full-bodied, privacy invading pat-down.

While this is happening, my personal items are going through their own X-ray check, making sure I'm not carrying any prohibited items such as finger nail clippers,  nail files or bottles of liquids.

 Once given the all-clear I'm allowed to retrieve my personal items and put my carry-on back together. I've gotten good at this whole process, and it now takes just seconds before I'm walking, alone, to my flight's gate.

I remember that day, 11 years ago, when the sky was empty. No planes to be seen nor heard. People walked around numb, unable to mentally process the images they'd spent the morning watching on T.v.

Our vocabulary changed. Our household learned words like Al-Qaida, Taliban,  Osama Bin Ladin and Saddam Hussein ground zero and Anthrax.

We became a country who was a bit paranoid, yet pulled together more than ever before. People painted their houses like flags.

More than 260 government organizations have been created or changed as a result of September 11th.

An entire generation of children have learned to send their fathers off to war.

As of today, Tuesday September 11th 2012, 1,980 members of the US military have died in Afghanistan alone.

And for 11 years, on this very day, 2,966 people are missed. More will be missed as they die from one of the 50 + different types of cancers developed due to exposure to toxic chemicals during 9/11.

An estimated 3,051 children lost a parent that day.

11 years ago, an entire group of women gave birth to children who would never know their father's.

And so today, I remember those we lost, those who are fatherless, those are motherless, those who fight for our continued safety and freedoms. I grieve the loss of innocence for our country. 

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