It’s been fourteen years since the 9-11 attacks. In today’s contentious political environment, it’s hard to remember how united we were then as Americans. I don’t remember right wing or left wing factions yelling at each other. I remember intense patriotism and people proudly flying flags. I remember that saying the pledge of allegiance and singing the national anthem would bring tears to my eyes. I remember how important it was to go to church because we needed to pray together.
I’ve written in previous posts about being a Girl Scout Leader. I wrote the following story fourteen years ago, not long after the attacks. When I look back on my life at moments that stand out, this remains an intensely loved memory. The 6th grade girls in the story are now amazing 25-year-old women scattered across the country. I miss them and am still proud of them all.
Written 14 Years Ago
A Perfect Moment
I experienced a moment that was not only a great Girl Scout experience; it was one of those moments that you savor because you know it is special and fleeting. My 6th grade troop was on a 2-night campout at Camp Marydale that is in beautiful W. Feliciana Parish.
We were now among the big girls. We were sleeping in tents for the first time. These were permanent canvas tents with a platform wooden floor and cots with mattresses, which is not really roughing it. But, it had gotten down to the low 40’s that November night, which is very cold to all of us southern girls. We had signed up to lead the 7:15 flag-raising ceremony on Saturday morning. Ever since the September 11 terrorist attacks, these ceremonies have taken on a deeper meaning and we really felt it was an honor to perform this ceremony. The girls organized themselves and had practiced late Friday night. Not only were we going to raise the flag, but also several girls who are in band had brought their instruments and they were going to play.
We got up at 6:30 a.m. and were ready despite being cold and still sleepy. It was a beautiful, cool, crisp morning without a cloud in the blue sky. Our breath left its presence in the air. Other troops slowly wandered up and we all formed a horseshoe around the flagpole. My girls marched in with the flag and a Scout gave the flag commands in a strong, clear voice and the flag was raised. After everyone said the pledge of allegiance, the band played the Star Spangled Banner. I was thinking of how proud I was of all these girls, many of whom I’ve known since they were Daisy Scouts in kindergarten. And I was so glad that I could have this experience with my flute-playing daughter. Just then, silently, as if not to disturb us, a flock of geese in a V formation, flew low over us, just above the flagpole. It was as if someone said “Cue the Flyby”. And it really sent chills down my spine.
It was a moment that transcended the ordinary. I have rarely seen so clearly the interconnected web of life as I saw that early morning. The patriotism, the mother/daughter bond, my role in the lives of these girls, and this fabulous display of nature were all so clearly on display. I was truly blessed with this awareness-raising ceremony.
Feel free to share your perfect moments.
I’ve had a few experiences where nature has interacted with a poignant moment. A pelican was circling around overhead at my cousin’s wedding, quite away from the coast. Driving back after my grandmother’s funeral, there was a huge rainbow spanning across the entire plain. It was incredible.
We have started teaching our kids about 9/11 which is 11/9 for us in Australia. WE were married 3 days beforehand and flew to NZ for our honeymoon that morning. So many innocent people lost their lives that day but I also feel that we lost our innocence too and that there’s been a line drawn in the sand and the world has changed.
It’s powerful to feel the Divine connectedness in those moments.
Thanks for sharing this again, Connie. We all get to experience at least one such moment in our lives but few of us are able to share it with others so beautifully .
Your kind comments always warm my heart. Thanks Juanita.