I know there are those who would not want to call the tragedy that struck Chattanooga a terrorist attack, and I’m already weary to the bone of all the political jargon, conspiracy theories, whatever. I’m glad the country finally got permission to keep our flags at half-staff after nearly a week. I moved ours down the day after the attack, only because I was too numb to recall we even had a flag out front on the actual day.
The War on Terror showed up unexpectedly on a clear Thursday morning when we were enjoying relatively low humidity, and plunged us into a world eeriely reminiscent of 9/11/01. For us, it was a microcosm of that day. My dad called close to 11am that day and told me that my mom had seen Amnicola Highway on the news. There was a shooting. I shook my head: “You’ve got to be joking.”
Later I recalled I pretty much said the same thing to my friend Susan when she came out of her dorm room in 2001 and told me that a plane had crashed into a tower in New York.
I turned on the news and kept it on (on my phone) most of the day. My heart froze as the nightmare unfolded and so many familiar places were being named, out loud, on the news. The hospitals locked down. A no-fly-zone established. Police on the ground with guns near the walking path where, at that time, there are usually bicyclists, joggers, strollers, etc. This was too surreal.
It still is too surreal. But we wanted to do something. We continue to pray. Our city continues to mourn but begins to heal, and we will be stronger for it. Today we visited the site on Amnicola Highway. Just to the right of the photo the road stretches back to the Reserve Center. The investigation still continues, so the joggers and strollers are not yet back on the trail. Instead the road is lined with law enforcement vehicles, investigation vehicles, and such like. Soon the area will return to normal.
And we will never forget.