Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering...with sadness

Today is September 11th and it has been 7 years.  I remember those attacks on the twin towers as if they were yesterday.  It was a beautiful day.  Even in Chicago, the sky was crystal clear, a deep enough blue to be noticed.  The sun was shining; the air was crisp and clean.  It was one of those days where you felt glad to be alive.  

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.


Lin said...

Such a sad day. I can remember that I did not feel safe anywhere, nor could I keep my children safe--which really terrified me. I hated that the world changed for all of us that day in September. We would never naively get on a plane or visit places such as Washington DC without all the security hoopla looming. It's awful. I hate that those terrorists changed our everyday lives in such a way.

I went to the site last year, and it was still moving. People were at the temporary memorial crying and consoling one another. We went into the cathedral across the street where there is a memorial. It was so somber, people praying, crying, hugging one another. I needed to go there--to pay respect to the city and the people who endured so much. I hope we never lose that compassion for other humans and that we don't forget how drastically our lives have forever changed.

Tina F said...

Thanks so much for your touching comment.

butterfly woman said...

I am glad you are reflecting on that day. Each of us has different, but clear memories of what went on that day. I was taking a counseling class that day, in some ways a soothing environment to be in. The professor had a daughter who worked near the towers so he was very anxious about her safety. And I, soon thereafter, was in a counseling internship and one of my first clients traumatized by 9-ll and needing support!
Even many years after, I still feel we need each other's support and healing.Tragedy brings us together in a closer way. And now, your writing here comforts me. Thank you. So glad we have writing as an outlet and a place here to share.