What We’ve Learned Since That Tragic Day

Tragic days are not the ones where your hair just won’t cooperate or when you can’t replicate that one good day you had a successful cat eye. It isn’t when your coffee order is wrong or they gave you a plain bagel instead of an everything. Those aren’t tragedies. Those are minor blips in the day that prove your self-fulfilling prophecy of today being the worst, most tragic day ever. Sure they suck, but I guarantee you won’t remember it next week, let alone 17 years later.

I could go into the events in detail. How we were in school thinking it was a joke until we saw the video being replayed in every class. Living in the “Era of the Internet”, you could see videos online that honestly still haunt me to this day. I remember how busy work was that day, being a MEPS waitress but also handling all of the military that was relocated there from the base for precautionary measures. They were somber, not the rowdy groups I was used to in there. I remember what happened after. I remembered a sudden hatred for not just the terrorists, but anyone who just “looked Muslim”. I remembered that everything was suddenly turned upside down. I remember that now as an adult who watched these events unfold my senior year of high school.

Those aren’t the important things to remember about that time. What’s most important is that in the face of the worst humanity has to offer, we saw the best in humanity. Our country always comes together in these times. The terrorists participated in these horrific acts on 9/11 or at the Boston Marathon hoping to break us. Unlike some things that are broken, we always came together stronger than ever. We helped each other through the madness. Emergency officials, both active duty and retired, joined forces to help with whatever they could. Our country stared back at these cowardly acts in defiance; no one was going to break us and if they tried, we would show them the strength in unity.

What we learned about ourselves during this time is a lesson that we seem to be forgetting again. That’s how history usually happens, right? We learn a valuable lesson and somehow keep losing it, only to relearn it again. We are stronger as one. No one can tear us down if we stay strong as a unified force. It doesn’t matter what political party you are, what religion you follow, who you go to bed to at night. None of that matters. We are Americans. We want our country to flourish and fight back from those who want to do us harm. We want to laugh in their faces. “You think you knocked us down? Think again.” The minute we forget these lessons is the minute that we become weak to these types of attacks again.

Today, remember all of that. Remember the lives that we lost today, especially the ones who sacrificed their lives to help others. Remember how strength in unity makes us unstoppable. Remember this now, in a world where people keep trying to divide us. This divisiveness will break us if we let it. We can’t let it.

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I Don’t Agree with You… and That’s OK

Can you be friends with someone who you don’t agree with? That seems to be the question that everyone is asking these days, especially with the divisive political environment that we live in. People have their fundamental beliefs about what is right or wrong, leading to sometimes overly passionate discussions among friends and family that can quite honestly lead to consequences that are absolutely uncalled for. Said consequences include: denial, name calling, and ending the relationship with the other person. These are the times that we live in.

Me? I like having friends that I don’t agree with. As long as they have an informed opinion of the topic and can articulate their beliefs without using the go-to names that the mainstream media on both sides of the aisle use as talking points, I love a spirited discussion. And no, I don’t agree with everything. I will point out untruths. And if people aren’t okay with that, then that becomes their problem not mine. I won’t refuse friendship with them over that. If they want to, that’s ok. I’m okay with losing a friend that has such little value in our friendship that they dismiss it entirely over something meaningless in the grand scheme of the world.

I will not take arguments seriously if you say, “I saw it on ____ (any mainstream media site, left or right leaning).” These organizations are lying to you and trying to skew you in their direction. Don’t fall for it. Be your own person. Back up anything you see on these sites on other sites from all over and piece together the information yourself. I promise those extra few minutes are worth it. Memes? Also definitely not a source of news. Memes are humorous creations that are there to make people laugh, not to tell facts. Again, take the time to do your research before believing anything. The internet lies, in case you didn’t notice. I will point this out and move on with my life. I really don’t care if you argue or call me names afterwards. If you want to believe you’re right and I want to believe I’m right, that’s done and over with and not worth the back and forth. I don’t engage like that.

The more people realize that this is just a phase in the world, the sooner we can be done with it. I find tantrums on social media as entertaining as ones with my child. I won’t pay too much attention and eventually it will go away. Friendships and family are more important that being right. Will it be worth it 10 years from now to break down a strong relationship for something that won’t matter tomorrow? No. It isn’t.

We are all different. We have to accept those differences because that is what makes this country so great. The fact that we are allowed to have our own opinions is something we should treasure, not berate each other for. As someone who has given up faith in supporting either of the major parties, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this is all a scheme from both the Democrats and Republicans to occupy us so that they can destroy our country without us paying attention to them. If it is, it’s working perfectly. We are too busy fighting each other and resulting to schoolyard insults that it’s honestly embarrassing at this point.