Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th

Is it September 11th again already?

No matter how many years it has been, it still never fails to hit me.

My parents used say, "I remember where I was and exactly what I was doing when JFK was shot," and "when we landed on the moon" and it always bored me to tears. I never really listened and I never really understood the impact it must have had on their lives. Until, of course, our generation experienced 9/11.

Unfortunately, just as I was when my parents repeated once again where they were when John Kennedy was shot, my children will probably be bored when I tell the story. They will have no idea how much this event, this series of events, shook our world. Shook our confidence, our security, our trust in who and what we are and what we are all about. Shook us to the very core of our beings. They will have no idea. Because they will have grown up post 9/11. They will never know what it was like before.

I remember exactly where I was and exactly what I was doing. It is a boring story really, especially compared to the stories of the people who experienced true tragedy that day. But I'm telling it anyway.

O was just about 14 months old and I was already almost 4 months pregnant with Julia. We woke up early that day, early for us, because I had an appointment. In my usual fashion, the first thing I did when I came into the kitchen was to turn on NPR. How else was I to stay connected to the outside world now that I was a 14 month veteran of SAHMomdom?

I heard a few things on the radio that sounded odd. Very odd. But they didn't quite register in my brain. I was busy getting cereal and the like splattered all over my kitchen by my child. And I remember hearing the radio.

What's interesting is that the way I remember the day is that it was Terry Gross on the radio. Maybe there's something in my mind and in my memory that wants it to have been Terry Gross. Someone soothing like Terry.

But in retrospect, it probably wouldn't have been her. She was usually on in the afternoon and this was morning. This radio host had been interviewing someone live and was completely thrown off and seemed like she didn't know what to say. She sounded so strange and unsure of herself and her questions. And it was happening right then. During the interview. News of the events were continually rolling in and I'm sure they were getting bits and pieces of it as they were attempting to conduct this interview. IT. WAS. HAPPENING. RIGHT. THEN.

I vaguely remember leaving to go to our appointment. We had an appointment to meet with someone to discuss refinancing our mortgage. How mundane. I quickly got O dressed and we headed out in the car. By the time we got to the loan office, I sort of realized what was happening---though "realizing" is quite an inaccurate way to describe it. It was still very blurry and undefined. Then, in the waiting room of the mortgage company, I heard a few people say things like, "You know it was those damn Middle Easterners. They hate us, you know" and things like that. And I wondered, "Could this be true?"

O, of course, was oblivious to it all. On the way out of the office, she explored a small landscaped area and fell and hurt her knee. She had that cut and the resultant scar for months. Months. And it always reminded me of 9/11.

It wasn't until we were home and I was smart enough to turn on the TV and see pictures, that I fully realized what had happened. Could this have happened? Did this really happen? What's going to happen now? I found myself talking to the TV. Yelling. Crying. I called a few people on the phone. We cried. We speculated. We wondered why it happened. We cried. Then back to watch on TV and stare and stare and cry and yell for hours. How could this have happened?

It was definitely a day I will never forget. No one will ever forget.

Sit a spell, young child of mine, and let me tell you about it. And don't go telling me you are bored, child. Because we will never be the same.


Mary Alice said...

No, it never will be the same.

Crystal said...

My husband (then fiance) worked on capital hill for Senator Byrd at that time. That was and will hopefully stay the most terrifying day of my life. He called me on his way into work to tell me to go find a TV and watch the news. He said a plane has crashed into the WTC. He just heard it on Howard Stern and didn't know if it was real. I asked where he was and he said he was passing the Pentagon and would call me when he got to work. I talked to him once he got to work and we knew the 2nd plan had hit. I don't think there was another call until I was on my way home. Once the Pentagon was hit, the phones were all busy and there was no way to communicate. I remember driving across the Wilson bridge trying to get home. You could see the smoke coming from the Pentagon. I was just shaking. I couldn't stop shaking. I remember trying to get a call out to anyone I could to try and get a hold of him. Finally I heard they were evacuated and he was heading home. There were reports of explosions at other buildings in the city. No one knew what was happening and what news to believe. Sometimes I feel like that part hasn't changed. I still don't know what to believe.
God Bless our troops and bring them home safely.

my minivan is faster than yours said...

That was probably the first morning in years I didn't listen to the radio because I had taken it into my classroom at school.

I felt so clueless when I got into work and sooo confused. That was an interesting day to be an 8th grade teacher, for sure.

Jen M. said...

I was barely pregnant with Jacob. My friend stopped by the house before school and said, "Are you watching the news?" I wasn't, so I turned it on and just sat there in horror. Bob didn't come home for days, as he was on an Air Force Base at the time and they went on complete lockdown. I was a wreck - it was so surreal.