Monday, September 7, 2009

Remembering

September 7, 2001 - planes flew without concern, people boarding planes could do just that, luggage check was easy, quick and you could bring whatever you wanted with you. People walked down streets and into stores without concern for how they looked. When you visited New York their were towers that stood high above the ground. The Pentagon functioned like it was a normal day. People who wore cloth on their heads never had to worry about being accused of terrorism. The worst terrorist act had been someone from our own home. No one suspected anything if you took pictures of planes. Young men didn't have to fear being shipped off for war the moment they enlisted in the military. It was, as most would agree, "normal" within the definition of itself. But, in 4 days all of that would change, drastically, forever.

I was getting ready to take my kids to class. We live on the West Coast so our morning was just getting busy. My mom called and told me to turn on the news. Those were pretty much the only words spoken. My entire family just sat and stared in disbelief. Then, the 2nd tower was hit. Unaware of the events that were still to come, we finally left for school. The words of CNN saying it could be terrorists stayed in my mind. By the time I arrived to the place classes were being held, one tower had already collapsed, the Pentagon had been hit and a plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. There was no way school would be "normal" that day. We had a small school, a homeschool support group. So, first class I just spoke to all the kids about what was going on and assured them that if they needed to talk to me they could, or if they just needed to step out of class later, it would be understandable.

Today, almost 8 years later, most of it for us on the West Coast is easily set aside. We remember by pictures, movies, and maybe the loss of a loved one. About 1 month ago, I found a book at the local dollar store that a police officer put together of pictures of the clean up. I bought it. Page by page I looked. But, I have to say, yesterday was most moving.

We went to our State Fair. They have a 9/11 memorial section. I did not realize it would be there and as we came out of an exhibit hall, there were pictures and a tall tower of bells. At first I thought it was just an exhibit of pictures. That's when I saw it - the ball with the names of people who died and the beam from one of the towers. That's when I realized I was standing in the middle of the 9/11 memorial exhibit. I had not seen it until now. It was overwhelming. Then the bells rang out, on the hour. I just stood there and listened. I touched the ball and stopped it from moving, then gave it another gentle push to start it again. I touched the "pentagon" with the names of those who died there. The Pennsylvania memorial is unique. A large water display that is indescribable. And then I touched the beam. I think the beam is the most amazing. Simply because as you look at it, you know it is 1 beam of so many that used to be part of the North tower. It is huge. I looks unshakable. Yet, there it is, on display. Slightly twisted at one end with a piece of twisted metal still attached. It weighs 2,000 pounds. A reminder of how vulnerable we are. A reminder of what happened 8 years ago.

1 comment:

Steve Orris said...

I'm learning to remember that everyone I meet is a unique and valuable person. And through various circumstances I may never see them again. How will I be remembered when I am gone? Will I be just another face in the crowd? Or will I have made a difference in someone's life?

You don't know when your life will end. Don't waste a single day. And never forget those who give their lives to protect our nation from more attacks. They deserve our gratitude and honor.