An Affair with America….

im 15,

sitting in Mme Rikkart’s 2nd period French Class,

the Principal comes on the PA, and says that that something has happened in New York City, and that the news is not to be watched in classrooms

it was September 11th 2001

This was before iPads and smart phones and Twitter and Facebook. We knew what the teachers told us, and that was that something big had happened in New York and Washington and that we being  a Catholic High School we should pray.

I remember thinking that it couldn’t be as bad as they were making it out to be, it couldn’t. New York was a mecca for good, it was were movies were shot and tv shows I loved were set (this was the Will & Grace/ Friends era after all). Nothing could hurt New York

Then I came home, and turned on Much Music (the Canadian MTV before MTV Canada was a thing) and I will never forget George Strombolopolis’s face as he said something along the lines of: We know this is a big day, and we wont be hurt if you watch the news insead of us, so were going to play some music videos and try to keep you updated.

That day changed the world, it changed the lives of the family and friends of over almost 3,000 victims in a way that no-one can put into words. It changed how we travel, how we speak in airports, how people dress, how religious groups were treated, it changed the landscape of America; literally and emotionally.

It changed my life, that was the day that put my life on a track that I am still following today. I began a love affair with America.

As a Canadian I often get made fun of for my American love affair, but its as much a part of me as my love of lacrosse or music.

9/11 is the apex of why I studied US History and why I continue to read as much as I can about it and learn as much as I can.

I will watch any movie or TV show that is 9/11 centric because as tragic as that day was it also showed the good in people.  You saw people helping each other to ambulances, read stories about people like Lauren Manning who was engulfed by flames and suffered burns over 80% of her body and was saved by the kindness of a stranger. (Her book ‘Unmeasured Strength‘ is one of the best books I have ever read), saw movies like ‘World Trade Centre‘, hung on to every word of Denis Leary’s phenomenal show ‘Resuce Me’, sung along to Alan Jackson and Toby Keith’s patriotic anthems (Where Were You and The Angry American respectively),

I bought and read all the magazines I could get my hands on, I still have them tucked away in a box in my parents house.  God Bless them they save the paper from every September 11th  since for me.

9/11 changed the world, it changed me. It changed a lot of things we don’t even realize it changed and a lot of things that you cant avoid seeing as a change.  It opened up people and forced the world to see that there is evil yes, but there is good to.

So tonight I leave you with 2 things, the first is a quote from ‘World Trade Centre‘ and the second a clip from the first episode of ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart‘ since the attacks.

“9/11 showed us what human beings are capable of. The evil, yeah, sure. But it also brought out the goodness we forgot could exist. People taking care of each other for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. It’s important for us to talk about that good, to remember. ‘Cause I saw all of it that day.”

– John McLoughlin, Port Authority Police Department NYC 


so take a minute today and tell the people you love that you love them, because alot of people didnt get that chance 12 years ago.

until next time

– be a river with me