Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Remembrance of 9/11


Eleven years later and all of this is so overwhelming. I've shed a few tears watching videos of the unfolding disaster in New York City, and was reminded again of the loss of thousands of lives. There is a fearful horror that still lives in all of us who witnessed the desctruction whether near or far away. This is not just a story about New York City.

On September 11, 2001, I was sitting at home with my youngest child, who was usually in kindergarten but he was sick that day. He was lying on the couch watching Blues Clues on TV when my husband called and told me urgently to turn on NBC because something had happened in New York - a plane had apparently hit the World Trade Towers. I couldn't see how that was possible. It was a beautiful clear day in the East, the first cool day of fall. Visibility was 100% - surely my husband was mistaken.

PhotobucketNo. I stared in horror at the sight of buildings with gaping holes in the side, watched while smoke rose and papers flew from the tall buildings like weird confetti. What I learned later was that human beings were also falling to the streets, those killed on the impact of the planes, or those above the fire who jumped to their deaths. This is what haunts me even now. I have a scrapbook of pictures I printed from the internet in remembrance. I'm glad to see those pictures still around on the internet to remind us of the human cost, the human story. This wasn't just about buildings and economics and religion.

This was about killing innocent people in a cruel and unbelievable way with a diabolical plan. It wasn't just about killing Americans either - there were people in those towers from all over the world.


And then there were the first responders. We saw video of brave firefighters and policemen walking towards the towers, with ambulances and police cruisers parked around the base. We were told on the news they were going to rescue everyone. There was so much hope! Everything was going to be all right! And then the Towers fell, one after another, collapsing like accordians into the streets, smoke rising over Manhatten Island, taking all those lives, including the men who matter-of-factly walked into the buildings to save anyone they could. Lost.

Of course, we found out later that many were saved that day, but not enough, not nearly enough.

And then there was the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. And the Pentagon. And we knew we were at war. And we are still at war - the longest war ever fought by our country.

As I said, my youngest was in kindergarten. For at least two weeks after 9-11, children would spontaneously talk about what they saw on TV, and some would start to cry. One little girl in my son's class was terrified because he Daddy was a fireman. My children drew pictures of burning towers and planes flying over the skyline of New York.

Even though we have risen from the ashes of the falling towers, we must never forget what happened that day. May it never, ever, ever happen again.


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