Driving to work, I listened to the reports of the first plane hitting, and wondered...? With the reports of the second hit, I knew. I think we all did. These were no accidents.
Arriving at work, I informed my co-workers of the news. We turned on the television and watched--the live broadcast smoke and fire, the impact of the second plane, the people desperately jumping from the highest floors. And we waited, for what we weren't sure. And then, suddenly, the south tower collapsed upon itself, crumbling into a heap of dust-covered, twisted concrete and steel. People ran for their lives, screaming and crying, trying to cover their head until they found shelter. If one tower went down, the other was sure to follow. And so it did. We saw it, televised, as it happened. And we wept.
We continued to watch and wait. News of the Pentagon was reported. Then flight 93, crashing into the Pennsylvania field. Wondering who or what might be next, we called friends who worked in the Sears tower. Yes, evacuation had begun.
As the images were repeatedly replayed they were imprinted into our psyches. Over and over again, we relived the experience and felt anew our own grief. The cloud hanging over Manhattan and the glow of the fire smoldering in the distance for weeks became symbols of our mourning. No doubt, the firefighters and police did the best they could. Until then, we were unprepared, complacent in the belief that life was safe and that each day would be the same as the the one before it. Shook to the core by the sudden realization of our vulnerability, we were scared. And angry. So many people missing, gone in an instant. Could it, would it happen again?
I am glad that today is at least partly cloudy. If it was completely clear, it would be that much harder. Listening to the reflections of loved ones left behind, I found my eyes filling with tears. September 11th is now forever connected to sadness and tragedy. Another "Day of Infamy." Remembering is difficult, but necessary. We remember so that we can appreciate and learn. Life is precious and fleeting. Take nothing for granted.
While the world is changed, we still have hope. Giving up is not an option. We need new leaders and heroes, people who are willing to sacrifice in order to help keep us safe. We are those leaders and heroes. It takes all of us to make the world a better place.