You are currently browsing the daily archive for September 11, 2009.
On September 11, 2002 the US Citizenship and Immigration Service in Vermont decided that it was fitting to set aside this date every year to swear in new citizens to this country. On September 11, 2001 the country fused together as it had not in a good long time. People came from around the country (and also the world) to help those in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania that needed assistance. We citizens did what any family would do in a crisis, swarm in and take over – help where help was needed, do what needed to be done, even if it meant only to share the tears and offer shoulders to cry upon. There was a strong sense of pride in being American, a regeneration of the spirit that formed our country many, many years ago. So fitting then, that each day on the anniversary of one of this country’s greatest tragedies as a nation, we should welcome with open arms those that share our spirit and long to stand as one with us.
We have a dear friend, who a few years ago, studied hard and completed all of the paperwork necessary to become a citizen. It was a great celebration in our family and with our friends, for he is a great guy and a wonderful addition to our country. I know how difficult it is to take the time to make that commitment and how much it means to those that do it.
Today, in Montpelier, United States Circuit Court Judge Hall presided over the 8th such commemorative 9/11 ceremony, swearing in 91 immigrants from 37 countries. As of this afternoon each of these 91 can proudly call themselves “Americans”.
Congratulations to each and every one of you.
On September 11, 2001 we still lived in New Jersey, very close to Manhattan. So close in fact that we could see the skyline. Like many other people, the details of that day are forever burned into my memory. We were on our way to work when I hear over the news radio that what they thought was a small plane had struck one of the Twin Towers. I amusingly called my husband who was carpooling to work with a friend and neighbor who was at the time taking flying lessons. “How can someone miss the Twin Towers?” I joked to them. Shortly later, our amusement at the apparent idiocy of some newbie pilot turned to fear and horror that none of us have felt in our lives. One by one, we learned of the attacks on the towers, the attack on the Pentagon and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Still not convinced that this was even real, I begrudgingly complied with my husband’s pleas to leave work, go home and get the boys from school. Feeling still rather foolish, I called and then went to the school to find that most of the other children had already been picked up by frightened parents and those remaining would be taken to a “shelter” by the police at the end of the day if their parents did not pick them up since it was unknown, who if anyone, might not be coming back to pick up a child that day. Many of the parents of children in the boys’ private school worked in the city. It was truly frightening.
Later that day, it was eerie just how noisy the area really had been now that it was silent since no planes were allowed to fly. We lived very close to the three major NYC airports and a small airport very close by – planes were always flying overhead. That day, however, it was so, so quiet – and very scary. It was difficult to explain to the boys what was happening, especially when we didn’t know ourselves. They were frightened, we were frightened and there really wasn’t much information to be had. Luckily none of the boys’ classmates suffered losses in their families, although one of the teachers in town, lost her husband that day. We grieved as a community, we pulled together as a nation as we never did before. We were right in the center of the action. It was very frightening.
Today, we live in a very different place. We are in Vermont and it is quiet here 99% of the time. There is the occasional small plane flying by on a beautiful clear day from a local, small airport. It is odd to think how strange this silence was to me, eight years ago. It was a day that changed life for a lot of people and in some way, for all of us. It is a day to pause to remember.
What are you doing at midnight? If you live in the Boston area, you might be taking a college course. Boston’s Bunker Hill Community College is reportedly the first college in the nation to offer general education courses that run from 11:45 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. At first glance this might seem just plain wacky. There are evidently enough people out there interested in these classes to almost fill them, according to an article located at www.boston.com. I guess that in the world of college kids, they might be up at that hour anyway, so why not grab some additional credits? The class makes sense for people who might work odd shifts or young parents, who might need to juggle parental schedules and job schedules to fit in a class here or there toward a degree. In any event, the college offered the late-night class to supplement its regular class schedule and in response to the overwhelming demand for classes and uptake in registration. Some students interviewed said that they would prefer the late night classes to early morning classes. Colleges may become the next 24-hour operations offering classes round the clock if demand fits supply. Early risers might prefer a 5 a.m. class which may offer regular office hour working folk an option to night classes. It will definitely increase the desire for caffeine in the Bunker Hill Community College area, at the very least, I am sure.