by Tammy Tillotson
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Psalm 23:5
December 28, 2001 was an important occasion. It was my twenty-third birthday and also the first time I flew in an airplane since the terrorist tragedies.
The Shadows of Death
I hesitantly planned this trip in November and, as the official take-off date crept closer, I nearly decided to cancel the flight and catch a Greyhound. In the end, a bus would have been cheaper, yet it would have taken two days longer to arrive at my destination. Living on a bus for half of my already short vacation was not my idea of feeling comfortable. I was going to fly. Yet, an internal debate and discussion raged between my logical and irrational fears and emotions.
This hesitancy over air travel was entirely out of character for me. I considered myself to be a somewhat seasoned and unique traveler, as I had flown at least a few dozen times. My last several flights had even been international ones. After much contemplation, I did not change my travel plans. As long as I felt afraid of flying, I recognized that the terrorists had successfully taken away part of my freedom. I wanted to regain that freedom.
Despite the still recent shadows of death, I was determined not to be fearful. I decided that the goal of my entire trip would be to find examples of everyday heroes, who despite their doubts, were still endeavoring to light the way as shining examples of people who were truly proud to be Americans.