That's what I remember most about 9/11.
The world went silent, as if even the birds and animals held their breath and waited. Sometimes I think they are still waiting, wondering what further atrocities mankind can visit on itself. I know I am.
I've heard people blame God, religion, politics for what happened that day. I think it is our nature as humans to look for causes so that we can find solutions. Sadly, there is no solution. What happened has happened before on both smaller and larger scales. It will continue to happen until the end of time.
Maybe I sound like a pessimist. I'm not. I'm a realist. I look at humanity and I see the truth - there is both great good and great evil in the world. And perhaps even in each of us. No one is exempt from anger, hatred, and bigotry. We each have preconceived ideas, deep rooted insecurities, and the need to survive. Created in the imagine of God, we have minds that imagine, create, and question. Because of that, we have the ability to build up, to tear down, to pull together, and to divide.
Did 911 change me as a person? Yes. I no longer believe that safety is assured. I look for exits in stores, movie theaters, and malls, always, always planning how best to get myself and my children out if there is an attack. I will never fly without fear. Nor will I see a plane in pristine blue sky without remembering 9/11.
But it's changed me for the better, as well. Before, I thought heroes were for fiction. That true heroic acts were few and far between. Today, I know the truth. That there is a hero in every one of us. That when push comes to shove, people will reach out and lend a hand. More, they will sacrifice all they have to save people they've never met. They will work. They will fight. They will even die.
And the beauty of that is far more than can be expressed in words. I think, in the end, that beauty far outweighs the horror and ugliness of what transpired five years ago. What man meant for evil God used for good, bringing together a widely diverse nation and showing us the power of the human spirit and the truth of the hero that dwells in the heart of every man.