Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

It was my senior year in college, and I was up early, as usual, to run to the cafeteria for breakfast before my first class of the day. I passed one tv in the lounge of my dorm on my way to the cafeteria, but it was mounted at the ceiling, and there was no one around at the desk w/the remote, so I decided to get on over to the cafeteria to see what was going on...

This is the image I saw when I got there and thought "what in the world????" Living in a much smaller city, and having never been to New York at that time, I didn't really have any realization HOW BIG those buildings were, how many people were there, having just gotten to work. My initial thought was that there was some kind of computer glitch going on with the local airport and the planes were being directed that way by accident. Matt Lauer and Katie Couric soon helped me understand that something was WRONG.


There has been a time in my life where I've known that something was WRONG before... that sense of foreboding... that ominous silent wonder you feel while waiting for your worst fears to be confirmed. I can't help but think back to 9-11-01 and then think my mind wonders to where I was on 4-19-95. Then, I was in 9th grade Algebra, my teacher had just started taking attendance and we felt the earth shake, a loud boom. We were only about 15 miles away from where the bombing took place, and since our school was partially underground (built into a hill) the earth sent tremors that rattled our lockers and the doors to our classrooms. We thought maybe there had been a big wind that got trapped in the pockets of doors, but my teacher sat down at her desk put her head in her hands and I could tell she was saying a silent prayer. She just looked up at us and told us that she knew that something horrible had happened. A few minutes later our principal came over the intercom to give us the bad news.

This is what had happened

So often around my state, these two events get linked together. And no, I don't buy into the conspiracy theories, and I don't even think too much about the 'how' and 'why' of it all. I think more about images from my tv like this:

And I can relate to holding on to hope... hoping that YOUR loved one will be found, and as the hours, days, weeks pass, knowing that you aren't going to get what you hoped for. I have a friend I've known since I was about 9 who lost his mom on 4-19-95. When I found out she was one of the missing, I remember scouring the paper every morning to see if her name had been moved from the list of 'missing' to the list of 'found alive'. And it never did. I can't imagine the pain and grief felt by family members and friends as your mind starts to wonder... 'did they feel anything?', 'did it happen quickly?', 'did they have time to realize what was going on?', 'what did they leave unsaid, undone?'...

so, wherever you stand politically, whatever your points of view on religion, whoever you love or hate, I try to keep these ideas in my mind. I try to remember not to go too long without talking to those who mean the most to me, without telling them, showing them that I love them.


The rest of that day is mostly a blur. My first teacher of the day did not cancel class, information about what was going on was skeptical at best, and he wanted us to stay in some amount of normalcy. The rest of the day classes were canceled, and my roommate and I pretty much stayed glued to the news and internet to try and find more information about what was going on. The next few days, panic arose as people began to think we would all run out of gas, the grocery stores would close... etc. Obviously panic was not the correct response, but you can understand how it was easy to happen.

On this anniversary, I pray for those who died, I pray for those who were hurt, I pray for those who lost someone, I pray for the perpetrators, and I pray for all of us, if our lives are going to be changed forever, may we take the lessons we learn to make a better world.

1 comment:

  1. Very well written...I can see how 9/11 took you back to 4/19. Wow. I think it is so important to hear the stories of others, their perspectives, connections to the loss, and the hope they still carry.

    Thanks for sharing yours.