On the morning of September 11th, 2001 I was just like most Americans, both eyes focused on the television in disbelief and in terror. At the time, I was employed at Walt Disney World, however I wasn’t scheduled to work that day. I remember finding out that all park guests were vacated from Disney’s four theme parks and my fellow cast member friends were sent home from work early. I recall spending that emotional day huddled with friends around the television and talking to my family back in Pennsylvania, that is, once I was able to get my cell phone to work. I’m fairly certain that most Americans remember a similar version of that horrible day. Regardless of where you were on September 11th, 2001, the events of that day we never forget.
I will also never forget the day AFTER 9/11. On September 12, 2001, I worked at the Disney Vacation Club booth located in front of The American Adventure attraction in Epcot’s World Showcase. I had worked at this location dozens of times before but only recall with clear vision that specific day. It was quiet, really quiet. I had never seen the park so empty. There was no laughter or the typical over-tired families fighting. Guests were quiet. They all walked slowly and didn’t make eye contact. It was awful. It was somber. It was raw emotions masked by the idea of a vacation.
But then the drums tapped…and the beautiful woodwind sounds of the fifes erased the silence.
September 12th wasn’t a day full of pixie dust and magic but it was a day full of strength and American pride. For something that typically was dismissed by almost every guest became an attraction that unified strangers with their belief that as American citizens we are stronger than the terror that took the pixie dust away just the day before.
During each hour it would begin with a few taps of the drums…guests seemed to follow the sound and then gathered around the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps. The guests didn’t rush by, instead on that day Americans circled around the performers. They sang patriotic songs. Some guests shed tears. But most significantly the pride that I saw in guests’ faces, and the strength I heard in their voices was something that I never saw matched in the years I worked at Walt Disney World.
I hope today as we continue on with our overly busy lives, we take a moment to think of how truly blessed we are to live in America and to give thanks to all that serve our country. May God bless them.
I’m deeply sadden to say that September 25, 2014 will be the final day to see the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps perform at Epcot. If you plan on visiting Epcot within the next two weeks, make sure to see one of their performances. I promise you, seeing the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps in person will give you goose bumps! If you can’t make it to Epcot by September 25th, you can watch their performance below!