I confess....I'm really torn between writing a dual book review and a 9/11 post. I'm going with the latter but including a mention of why the former also feels like patriotism (and maybe I'll do it later).
I remember seeing my friend Mike in the hallway on 9/11/01. He looked a bit dazed and told me about the first plane. Honestly, I thought it was some sort of massive pilot or mechanical error. The law school lacked any TVs (this was remedied in my time on the equivalent of student council) and the computer lab was jammed but, as folks know, everything was jammed. I went to my first class and the prof (also the Dean) had been prepping so didn't know the news and held class despite a few students protesting. When my next class started, the rumors were flowing....no real news access and proximity to D.C. added to that. My prof came in and very solemnly (and impressively) cancelled class saying there were more important things to think about.
I went home and watched the coverage with my roommates. Even when it was clear it was an attack, I'm pretty sure I didn't comprehend it. We watched for hours, like everyone else I suppose. We called our folks to check in. Mom will always be a New Yorker. Dr. Dad (who is from there too) volunteered to go help...they didn't need him since he wasn't a first aid specialist and simply put not enough survivors needing his neuro expertise.
Here's where I might lose you. After hours of coverage, I went to my room and put on my gym clothes. I just couldn't watch anymore. I felt more relief than I care to admit when I opened my door and saw a roommate had done the same thing. And I went to the gym. I thought this through and came to a conclusion that I still hold....we lose if we don't keep living. It is patriotic to go to the gym (or write a book review). "They" win if we stop living our lives. That does NOT mean we can't mourn or can't remember. I actually finally found my tears while on the treadmill....it wasn't a matter of ignoring the event at all. It was a matter of living and not letting anyone take that from me.
I've always refused to let fear run my life. I am careful if I'm out alone at night. I carry a key poking from my fist and ask for an escort if it feels right. But, as I told my Mom when she'd fret about me walking at night in college, I will to be aware and I will certainly avoid undue dangers, but I'm going to live. I got on a plane late October 2011. Aside from the fact that I knew security was as high as it could be, I also knew it was an important message. Yes, even one girl getting on a plane for the West Coast, since all the "one"s add up to a "many".
Always remember. Never forget. But don't let evil win by giving in to fear. Living is patriotic.