Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11

It's almost the same crawl it was 7 years ago.  Sitting here, going about my morning routine, then watching these horrifying events unfold as MSNBC replays the events of that terrifying day.  This time, however, it's like slow motion, a brutal, bone-chilling crawl. You know what's coming.  You know you can't stop it.  All you want to do is pray—as if you could change it.  

Just as in 2001, I cannot tear myself away from the television.  Disbelief as thick as the smoke pouring from the towers and the pentagon.   My brain just cannot unhitch my eyes from the TV. Why?  Why do I want to go through this again?

So I never forget.

At 8:42 am in 2001, I was getting my 4-year-old ready for preschool while my 7-month-old was getting some extra sleep in her crib.  I flipped the TV on for a quick breakfast-time cartoon before Ghost Son and Ghost Hunk took off for their school day.  And there it was.  Something so incomprehensible.  At the moment, it still looked like a freak accident.  But before my men left the house, the second plane hit, and there was no longer any question about how this happened.  But still, this had to be an isolated event, right?  And just as the boys were heading out to the car, the pentagon was hit.  Oh my God...

And while Ghost Hunk was heading off to school after dropping our son at preschool, the first tower fell.  It just disappeared from the skyline.  I cried and prayed.  Unexpectedly, Ghost Hunk came through the door, still stunned and numb, unable to take himself to the university just yet.  When I told him the first tower had fallen, he didn't really understand.  But as I stood in the shower, the bathroom door flew open and there stood GH, his face wet with tears. "It fell down!  It just fell down!  They're both gone!"  He understood, now.

I know history tends to objectify such events, at different rates—by years, decades, or centuries. As each epoch passes, the impact of the incident seems more distant, less personal.  I wonder how long it will take for 9/11 to seem less personal.  And I know it effected more than New York, more than America.  The Western world took this personally.

For all those who have been more closely affected by this tragedy, those who lost loved ones and the precious souls who left us that day, we still pray, we still cry, we still remember... 


  1. I remember that day very clearly. I was at my desk at the newspaper bemoaning the fact that there was no "real news" to report that day. Fifteen minutes later, the news of an airplane running in to one of the World Trade Center towers came over the Associated Press wire service. I have never complained about a slow news day since.

    By the way, this happened two years before Just Son was born. I really felt the agony of parents, however, as they tried to think of ways to explain to their children what happened.

  2. I was at work, getting ready for my first class when somebody came running into the library to tell me. It was horrifying! WE were in lockdown nearly all day, since I work about 30 miles from Manhatten. So many people on Long Island lost people in this attack -- a young woman who used to babysti for the boys lost her husband, a man in my art class lost BOTH of his daughters. I hope we never have to endure anything like that again.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I read a book about September 11th today to my students (Fireboat, by Maira Kalman) and started crying in the middle of it. The story made it fresh in my memory again.


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