Sunday, September 11, 2011
10 Years Ago Today...
I had just dropped the Boy off at daycare. We'd finally gotten past the sobbing hysterics of being left with those strange people and he was happy to go off and find his friend Conner to play. I was driving back home to shower and get ready for work and turned on the radio (tuned to NPR as always) in my big, gas-guzzling but family-friendly Ford Exlorer.
And I heard the news.
It was, as my priest said this morning, invoking the first Star Wars movie, like a million voices cried out and were suddenly silenced. A huge vacuum opened up in the psyche of the American people at that moment. All thought. All breath. For a brief moment, all feeling was sucked away from us like the tide going out and we stopped, stunned at the sheer magnitude of the event before the waves came crashing back in, full of terror and sadness and wondering if the people we knew (and we all knew someone in New York) were okay or among the dead.
It was a blurry drive home. I don't remember much else except that as I pulled into the driveway, the second plane hit the other tower. I don't know if I ran or crawled up the stairs to my front door. But when I opened it, I found Darling Man standing in the arch between the livingroom and diningroom staring at the TV.
I almost wish I'd never turned to look. Because once I looked, I couldn't not look. Smoke.. and people running and crying. Choked up reporters. And then... video of the second plane. I sat down on the couch and didn't move for hours. I don't think I went to work that day, but we managed to pull ourselves together before going to get the Boy from daycare at the end of the day. We tried to act normal because something like this is not easily explained to a tiny, innocent and trusting boy.
My brother James was living in New York at the time. Of course, getting through to see if he was okay was impossible. We had to wait and wonder and pray that he was alright. He was. In fact, he slept through the whole thing, having worked late the previous night and into the wee hours of the morning. We were relieved and somehow a little irritated that he slept through something of this magnitude that happened blocks from where he lay snoozing. Of course, he had to live through the aftermath which was probably even more difficult than being awake for the actual event.
My brother John went and re-joined the Army. He's still in there to this day, ten years later, working on this war as a camp commander, organizing troops and supplies that go into the fray.
As for me? I still tear up at the thought of that act of violence. And at the memory of the Challenger shuttle exploding, and Columbia coming apart as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere. These things are burned into my brain and will never go away. I remember them everyday.
So today, I will not turn on the TV. I glanced very briefly at the newspaper. I do not need to relive the horror of that day. It is already there, branded on my heart and mind. After 10 years, I think it's time to let go of as much of that as we can, time to move forward into our future which will hopefully be a happier and more peaceful place to be.