Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you...

...on this day, eight years past?

Undoubtedly it was a day that changed our country forever. A day that affected millions of people across the world, reaching those who have never even dipped a toe on American soil.

And undoubtedly, it has created a lasting impact on my life.

I was merely 14. And on September 11, 2001, I went to Les Bois Junior High just like any other day. Early morning church seminary went on as usual, without one hint of disaster looming. We entered first period at 7:50am and I took my usual seat in Ms. Adam's US History class. (Ironic?) And that's when word broke. News stories clamored on the television showing a New York World Trade Center billowing with black smoke. Confusion, apprehension hung over our heads like a dark rain cloud indecisive to let down it's guard. Was it just a terrible, but accidental, plane crash?

I couldn't conjure up the idea that this was bigger than my impressionable young teenage mind would understand. The televisions were left on in the classroom, as we all turned to whisper to one another what could be the crisis? We were left in the dark. Being two hours behind New York City, I imagine much of the west coast felt similarly.

I remember sitting puzzled, not moving to speak to my neighbor, or to engage in predicting the verdict. As we watched the first tower burning and news reporters spouting off their own media analyzed answers, the second tower was hit by another airplane. Innocently, I thought to myself, "ANOTHER plane crash accident?" And just as quickly as I murmured the last word, it became more clear.

This is not a coincidence.

This is not an accident.

We had been attacked. Terrorized. Murdered.

I had never and have never since felt, so much pride for my country. I wanted to scream from the rooftops that I am an American, born and bred. This is my home, and everything America stands for represents who I am. Me.

Parents began to call into the school, demanding televisions be turned off. Perhaps it was the conservative Idaho environment, but we did not receive one more lick of information. A once blackened room, given one shred of light, was now locked and silenced. We had to bear the rest of school as if nothing had happened.

As 2:35pm rang it's closing bell and I hopped off the final step of the yellow school bus, I ran straight home. Without stopping to take off my backpack, I flicked on the tube. And there it was; everything I had missed for the past 7 hours coming to light. I sat with my father as we took in the tragedy that lay before us. I had so many questions, and I let them fly one right after the other. My patient father did his best to answer, and to keep the mood calm. (Gracious man, my daddy.)

The days following my thoughts were consumed with powerful images of collapsing steel building, sheets of thick black smoke, papers of all colors flying from windows, and god forbid, my fellow Americans following the same destiny as the paper. Screams from different directions penetrated my ears, some from the throats of frightened people fleeing the scene and others from the sirens of fire trucks headed in the opposite direction.

To those who ran to, and not away from, burning buildings and injured Americans, your efforts are unparalleled. I have recently thought that if my services as a nurse were needed in a dire life threatening emergency, would I have the courage to follow through? The bravery and selflessness? Would my sense of duty to my country carry me through? My gratitude to those who did follow through and execute is unexplainable. Words are not enough, and never will be.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

A Citizen of these United States,
Meredith Kaye Mangum

Friday, September 4, 2009

Straight males DO know Boys 2 Men!

Q: Does a California vacation ever fail to satisfy?

A: No. Hell, no.

{Please don't wash my mouth out with soap, mom}

A vacation to San Diego with one of my best girls yet again proved that I love that sunny state.

Loved pampering ourselves with my first ever "spa day." Massages, mani's, pedi's, uber relaxation!

Seized every opportunity to run alongside beaches, harbors, and bays. And felt stinging pains of nostalgia as I watched herds of soccer teams fill Mission's grassy parks. I wanted to jump in and play with them. The lone white girl who can actually play. But then I remembered I am grateful my body still has the capability to run. Have I ever told you that knee joints need serious re-engineering by the big man upstairs? Yeah, I thought so. Ten times over.

Late nights and late mornings.

Glorious sunshine and tanning my 9am-5pm indoor white skin.

Finding the best place to usher in our SoCal vaycay... the Sandbar. San Diego style.

And best of all, getting $$paid$$ all the while!!!

Usually the jet lag post vacation due to reality checks and piles of work completely negates the benefits of time off.... But not this time.

This week has been a RIDE! Everything that I love about the wonderful world of futbol.... all came together in my kitchen one late Tuesday night. In one big human train. And though I do not expect anyone to understand the aforementioned memento... I wrote it for me. For future memory reminders. And there it shall remain.