I've asked a lot of people over the last week or two where they were on 9/11 & what they remembered. It is fascinating to hear person by person their reactions (i.e. "i thought it was a movie," or "i thought it was the end of the world") and the concerns for the country, for New York, and for those poor, poor innocent fellow citizens of ours. - If you shared your story with me this week thank you for sharing with me. I loved learning about you in that way. - If you didn't get to yet & would like to, I'd love to read about it. please share. if there's anything I've learned about pain like this it's that we really do feel something right when we talk about it, especially when other people are certain to understand what we mean.
The memories I have of that day are binding. Like every American who witnessed the horrors of that day I will never be able to forget what I saw. I wanted to just share my morning with you because I want to honor the day with what I can give it, my memory & my story. it's short, here it goes:
I was getting up to go to school (sophomore year) when my mom told me to go turn on the television and watch the news. She was in her bathroom toward the back of the house getting ready and listening to the radio. I knew something serious was happening. I flipped on the television and saw the images of the first building on fire. I'd never heard of The World Trade Centers, I certainly gathered that they were important and that this was terrible but I had no idea of what those buildings could hold, what they meant to America or what they symbolized to the terrorist. I watched as the second plane hit the second tower. I couldn't believe it. I ran to my mom & told her what happened, she was so serious & that is so not like my mom. I ran back to the television and watched until the 2nd tower that had been hit fell. I ran back again and told my mom. This time she was crying, I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what any of this meant, I just knew it was going to be terrible, beyond that even.
I was pretty young/naive being just a sophomore and I remember vividly months after the event saying to a pastor of mine in his office, "I just don't get 9/11, why are people still so upset about it? why is the news still harping on it? Move on." - I have regretted saying that from the minute after I said it. After that I began watching documentaries & learning about the tragedy of the day from perspectives I will never be able to comprehend. I learned through the footage, the audio of last voicemails, the incredible unity I felt amongst my countrymen of the honor & grief that day deserved in my heart. I regret that it took a while before I could grasp the meanings of that day but I have grasped them now.
It is a day every American that witnessed it can join me in saying that they will never forget. What comfort & unity there is in that knowledge; that WE will NEVER be able to forget that morning. We are united in that memory, linked by that national experience. 9/11 is a day that reminds me fiercely of my patriotism, my loyalty to the ideas of this country, to the ideas that were attacked on that day, to the ideas that caused that enemy to hate us.
I can't wait to watch the ceremony tomorrow, I feel odd saying that I'm looking forward to something filled with so much pain but I find so much glory in remembering & participating with my nation as we remember together. I love my country. And I'll be watching tomorrow with a fixed gaze and bent heart just as I did on that Tuesday morning 10 years ago.