Friday, September 11, 2009
Eight years ago today, I was blissfully sleeping in my bed, when my teenage stepson came into our room at around 7:00 AM telling us we had better turn on the news. Apparently, he had been listening to the radio as he was getting ready for school and had heard that something was going on in New York City, that it was being attacked. That sounded pretty strange, so I got my pregnant butt out of bed and went to the living room to turn on the TV.
There on the screen was an image of the World Trade Center with smoke billowing out. I saw only one tower, but my brain filled in the blanks, telling me that the other tower was behind this smoking one. However, they kept showing clips of that second plane hitting the second tower, and the first tower was clearly visible in those shots. I felt uneasy about that but still kept telling myself that the other tower was just blocked from view. I sat mesmerized when all of a sudden, the second tower crumbled to the ground. Gone just like that. I will never forget that image and the sick feeling in my stomach, the shocking blow of realization that not just one, but both towers were destroyed.
It seemed impossible that something like this could happen, that those huge iconic skyscrapers could be destroyed so quickly, that our country was under attack in Washington DC as well. It was horrifying, gut-wrenchingly sad, confusing, shocking, and frightening. I remember watching people in countries all over the world mourning our loss. I remember how patriotic we all felt, displaying our American flags on our cars, in our cubicles at work, defiantly telling the world that we were strong and would survive this.
I also remember finally taking that flag down from my cubicle as 9/11 got twisted by our government leaders into an excuse to go to war with a country that had nothing to do with it, to erode our civil liberties, and as we are now finding out all too well, to torture.
But today is 9/11, and I won't dwell on that. I will simply honor and mourn those who died on that day: the passengers on the planes and the workers in the buildings. I will remember the many heroes of that day: including the brave firefighters, police and rescue workers, the passengers on Flight 93 who prevented what could have been an even greater tragedy.
And I will hug the boy I was carrying in my womb that morning and wish for him and his little brother a future where innocent people are not killed by evil, cowardly terrorists.