Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hard to Believe It's Been Ten Years

I still remember where I was on 9/11 when I first heard that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I was late for work and in my car. The deejay mentioned that a plane had crashed. He didn't say it was a 747, just a plane. I remember thinking that it was a terrible accident. Then, right before I got to my office, I heard that the second tower had been hit, and my heart sank. The rest of the day seemed to be a blur of pretending to work and listening to the news. One of the techie guys put a television in the school board room and just left it on. I watched as the towers fell, and it was a shock that something that looked so very permanent could be reduced to dust in a matter of minutes. It was a visceral kick in the gut, watching the news from the Pentagon, not that far from where we used to live. Everyone I saw that day had a stunned, shell-shocked look. We were far away from what was happening, but it was as if we were right there. We were scared, heartsick, and horrified.

Did all that really happen ten years ago?

It all still seems so vivid, an open wound for many. I don't want to revisit any of it--it was too much, to see bodies falling, to think of people unable to escape, to find that the world wasn't as safe as I thought. It's overwhelming. How do we live in such a horrific world, where hateful people can take the lives of so many innocent strangers if others are not vigilant? How do we find justice for this crime without losing what makes us who we are as a nation? How do we thank the people who gave their lives to help others get out of those buildings? How do we offer solace to the people who lost loved ones?

I read somewhere that it is the responsibility of the living to make meaningful the sacrifices of the dead. I think about that, and I hope that an answer will come that makes sense of all that horror. I will hug my beautiful son today, because children are a promise for tomorrow, and I will remember. It may take me another ten years, but I will try.

1 comment:

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