I, like so many, can’t believe it’s been ten years.
Good Day New York?
My daughter was an infant and my son was three. I sat on the floor playing with them, and my husband called to tell me a plane had just hit one of the WTC towers. I turned the tv to Good Day New York on the satellite (which I sometimes watched when I lived in NYC) and they had their traffic helicopter focused on the WTC. Just then the second plane was visible and sliced through the blue sky and into the building. We know the rest. I thought my eyeballs were going to roll across the living room floor. I had to remain in “mom” mode. The phone started ringing I talked with family members as we watched the horror unfold before us on the tv. I can’t wrap my mind around the entire event to this day but at that moment, I understood clearly the existence of evil and it was terrifying.
My friend Kevin called me and asked what was happening, that a plane was down outside of Pittsburgh and wanted to know what we heard and were we ok. I, of course, thought it was a rumor and dismissed it, but he assured me that he had heard that a plane went down outside of Pittsburgh…Kevin had worked in the Trade Center and had experienced the 1993 attack and had expressed to me that he wasn’t ever working there again because they tried to take it down and will come back some day to finish the job. Sadly, he was 100% right. We toyed with the idea that the world was ending but we figured it was probably worse than that.
I took the kids outside to push them in the swings and I remember how eerily quiet it was; we live in what was at the time a major flight path and had numerous planes overhead throughout the day, yet on that day it was quiet. Everything closed. Everyone came home from work or school. Dan and I watched the New York channels on the satellite and saw the phone numbers to call about those missing…I didn’t sleep for three nights, worried that we were under attack and what kind of a world it was where nothing made sense anymore. I still wonder– not if we’re about to be attacked, but what kind of a world in which we live. I’m not a scaredy-cat fatalist and I’m not one to panic, but the whole thing scared me. I saw things and became aware of things on our own soil that I would rather not happen; the extent of death, desperation and destruction.
Drops of Jupiter
I thought of all the young people I knew and how this would be a defining moment, not only for our country but for them. I thought back to just a few weeks before, kids sitting on the tailgate of a truck after summer camp at the Y, singing the Train song, Drops of Jupiter, so happy, so carefree, and 9-11 represented a huge loss of innocence for them and their generation.
And tell me- did you sail across the sun?
Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?
Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
The next day I was listening to the radio by myself and Bob Dylan’s Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall came on and it was at that time, I cried without shame or fear, pulling over in that same parking lot at the Y. Something about the lyrics about the witnessing of such horrors in humanity in that song resonated. How can any of us ever be the same? I thought about what people close were forced to witness. The family members that experienced unthinkable loss. People being turned to vapor in an instant. People being reduced to animal instincts of survival and in an attempt to escape burning to death, sought refuge perched on the side of a building higher in the air than any human should be without safety. The loss of the buildings which were always so elegant and strong and were part of the personality of a city I love. What the first responders saw; I cannot imagine and do not want to.
We also witnessed kindness, bravery, courage and generosity which are gr8 things about our species, but those human qualities can exist and be expressed without such intense tragedy.
We will never forget because we can never forget what we saw, what we know, what we felt and we hope to hell it never happens again.