The Falcons Remember September 11th
Sept. 10, 2007
On our first away trip of the season, the Air Force Academy volleyball team was able to see the many sights of busy New York City. We visited Ground Zero, Times Square, walked down Broadway, and we even got to ride a few blocks on some bike carriages, due to Bina's struggle attempting to hike New York City on crutches. While experiencing the many wonders of the subway, Jocelyn and I were able to show off some of our intermediate French skills while speaking to two visitors from France. We asked them a few questions, and to my surprise, we understood their response. Our team had a fantastic trip, full of competition, sightseeing, and bonding. The freshmen were able to experience life on the road for the first time, and we all were able to identify some of their tendencies, such as Julia's random jokes that she likes to play on others, Nichole's truckload eating habits, and Kelly's wannabe gangster attitude.
The part of the trip that had the biggest impact on me was seeing the tribute dedicated to the victims of September 11. The names on the wall seemed never ending. Looking at the buildings surrounding the area where the towers once were was quite a shock. I didn't realize how much space the towers enveloped, and how close the other buildings were to them. I cannot imagine the chaos that went on that day.
We all remember where we were on September 11, 2001. I was in my ninth grade English class at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif. Instead of wasting time and energy trying to learn things that we would never remember, we went to the library to watch the news. Watching the videos on CNN made my stomach turn and my head spin. Mrs. Marshall, my English teacher, sat motionlessly with the rest of the class in a small room in the corner of the library, where all we could do was watch the towers crumble to pieces on live television. We all sat, eyes glued, hearts torn, and completely mind-blown. The rest of the school day was quiet and slow.
I remember hearing about how hundreds of firefighters from New York City and surrounding cities were responding to the scene. My dad was a firefighter for the state of California, and he said many prayers that day for his brothers in New York. Thousands lost their lives, and thousands more still mourn for their loved ones. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends and closest friends were lost in the attacks. New Yorkers lined the streets with photographs displaying "missing persons" and "have you seen this person?" posters. Sadly, these missing people are no longer with us.
Michelle Harrington, our starting middle hitter, shared her personal experience of September 11, 2001.
"I will never forget that morning in eighth grade U.S. History class with Mrs. O'Connell in Mayfield Woods Middle School in Columbia, Md. We were sitting in class reviewing the Civil War atrocities committed on our own when an announcement came over the PA system that there had been an attack on the capital and New York. Immediate silence fell throughout every classroom before the real terror began to set in. Many of us had parents who would work in D.C. such as at the pentagon or the World Trade Center from time to time. We weren't able to watch television, since the administration felt it would upset us worse and they wanted parents to talk about the attack with us and be able to handle any situation that arose. It was awful to not know the extent of what happened. My dad worked on a military base in the area. I had no clue as to his whereabouts or if he was okay. It was one of the most awful feelings in my life.
I was able to travel to Ground Zero about a year after the attack and there was still a huge amount of rubble. All of the nearby buildings had also been affected by the rubble with external damage. Any time we drove near the capital, a whole side of the pentagon was demolished. It is amazing the amount of pain and damage that a few misguided people can cause. The other side to that is the good they can accomplish. American citizens united in support of all those hurt by the attack. Patriotism exploded and people were suddenly more concerned and caring for each other even just in everyday traffic. Firefighters, rescue workers, and policemen are recognized for the heroism and hard work that they complete every day, everywhere."
I cannot emphasize enough how lucky I feel to be part of a family and a team. During my senior year of high school, a friend of mine who I played basketball with was in a tragic car accident about ten minutes from her own home, and her life was taken. Before this incident, I simply figured that young people are invincible. Nothing bad will happen to me, I am only a teenager. We all forget sometimes that every day given to us is a gift. To succeed, to fail, to laugh, to cry, to yearn, to grow, to love, to sacrifice, to bleed...all of these are gifts. Some of these make us stronger, while others challenge our strength.
The Academy fills our lives with so many errands, due dates, projects, etc. Some become complacent and simply "exist", coasting through day by day. I ask you now, whether you are a Cadet or not, to stop. Stop for a moment when you wake up in the morning, worrying about your GR (Graded Review) or getting to work on time, or getting the kids to school. Don't rush. Just breathe. Take a moment to remember those lives that were lost six years ago, on September 11. Take a moment to realize just how lucky you are to inhale and exhale, to create memories and face challenges. Stop to remember the lives of the soldiers that were lost in the fight against terrorism. Do not stop just once a year on the anniversary of 9-11. Stop every day, from now on, and remember.
Our team will be competing against the Wyoming Cowgirls on September 11, 2007. We will remember, as we face the flag, those that were lost, those that continue to fight, and also what we stand for and represent.
There will be many challenges down the road that our team will have to take head on. We will aspire to keep positive attitudes under any circumstance. Keeping a positive attitude is our fourth team core value..."Nothing can depress or upset this powerful and positive life force - no mood swings, not even negative circumstances, affect this `rock'."
A quote by Viktor E. Frankl demonstrates our standard of this positive attitude, "...everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance...in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person (you are is) the result of an inner decision...therefore, any man can...decide...that (this) last inner freedom cannot be lost."
Please come and support your lady Falcons in our contest against Wyoming on September 11, 2007, in Clune Arena.
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