Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering With Reverence

Can it possibly be 7 years since September 11?

Like any day that marks its place in history, we all remember where we were and what we were doing when the planes hit the World Trade Center that morning.

I had been at my new job for 3 months to the day.  I was getting ready for work that morning and sat on the couch to watch the Today show with a few minutes to spare before leaving.

As I sat, they were showing the first plane hitting the tower.  I didn’t understand what I was seeing.  I thought it was a clip from a movie; some kind of Hollywood magic.  I watched for a few minutes longer still not understanding and then the second plane hit.

I froze.  One plane I thought maybe was an accident.  Two planes,I realized, was intentional.  I drove to work in shock, listening to the radio for any news.  I tried making sense of it in my head.

Work was strange that morning.  Everyone was in shock.  A television was on in one of the offices and we all gathered around when we could.  We learned of the plane hitting the Pentagon and another missing.  We were all frightened into silence understanding that this was terrorism.  Understanding that at that moment, none of us was safe.

It hit me that my sister was at work.  She worked in a daycare center in an FAA building.  I called my mom to see what was happening.  She told me that my sister had evacuated.  All the teachers evacuated with all the children onto buses and moved to a safer location.  I was emotional.  I’m normally emotional, but I can keep it in check at work.

We were sent home.  There was a strange feeling in the air.  A feeling I had never experienced, one that was dense, filled with many emotions.  Fear.  Patriotism.  Anger.  Confusion.  It was all mulling about, all very palpable.

When I got home, I was glued to the television seeking more information.  Seeking some kind of understanding.

I watched the images that played across the screen.  Images for which there are no words.  Images that had me torn up and bawling.  I thought about the people in New York.  The people around the buildings who watched it in terror.  The people that were in the buildings and fought to escape.  The people that made it out and the grief they must have felt for those that did not.

I thought about the people that were unable to escape.  The people that jumped from the top floor, knowing there was know way to survive that fall.  The disabled who could not get out.  The disabled who sat in wheelchairs at the tops of stairwells praying for someone to save them.

I thought about the brave men and women who sacrificed themselves to try to save those inside.  I thought about the families of the individuals in the buildings and their fear, not knowing the whereabouts of their loved ones.  I thought about the children who witnessed this atrocity.  What were their little minds thinking?  How were they coping?

I thought about the men and women on the planes.  Did they know what was happening?  Did they know they were going to die?  Did they know they were involved in a terrorist attack?  I thought about their loved ones.  I thought about the families of every person who was flying that morning.  The frantic search to find out if their loved one was safe or on one of those planes.

I thought about the incredibly brave and heroic men and women who knew what was about to take place and fought like hell to stop it.  The men and women that took down a plane, aware they were to die, to save countless others.
To this day, I am brought to my knees from the sadness thinking about this.  I cannot fight back the tears as I type.  I will not present pictures from that day.  It is unnecessary and too painful for so many still.  You all remember the images.  I imagine that they are engraved in your minds as they are in mine.

I considered not writing about this today, but truthfully, nothing else seemed appropriate.  Nothing else I could post today would feel right with consideration of the seriousness and respect due to the anniversary of this date.  Take a moment to say a prayer for those lost that day and for those who survived that day.  My prayer for you is peace, piece of mind, peace in your heart, sleep free from nightmares and strength to carry on.

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