Like so many Americans, I remember exactly where I was during the 9/11 attack. I don’t need television programs to help me remember, and I don’t believe I know anyone who hasn’t recalled it on their own.
I have refused to watch any television programming about the attack. It is not that I don’t want to remember, or that I do not care. The other day, I was reading an article in a magazine updating on the thoughts of all the children born after their fathers perished that day, and I automatically teared up. I ha to stop reading the article to hold back the emotions as I was at work and it isn’t quite appropriate to be a sobbing mess there. So,yes, I care.
The night before ten years ago, I had spent the night much like I spent last night. Upset, crying, and overly emotional. I couldn’t figure out why, at the time, I was so desperately crying over something done and gone in my life at the time, and it took me many hours to work myself out of the hysteria. Even though, at this time, this hysteria was forming a pattern I didn’t realize until reflecting back on my emotional state in the
hours before several other tragic events. Somehow, it was as if I knew something bad was going to happen, but had no idea as to how, what, or why it was going to happen.
Ten years ago, I woke up at the exact time that the first WTC tower was hit by a plane. I was getting ready
to go to a college class, and I walked to the living room to turn on the television. When the screen lit, there was the image of a smoking tower, while the Today show anchors were trying to bring any information and calm they could to their viewers. My heart sank. I started to cry. Then, as I watched, the second plane hit.
I lived off campus, so I got myself together, reluctantly turned off the television, and made the walk to
class. Walking up the hill, my eyes constantly went to the skies, wondering what else they held after this blatant attack. Would it just be in the city? Were there others? Where are they going next?
I remember it was a sunny day. Very few clouds in the sky.
I went to class and found my classmates, speaking in hushed tones, asking each other what was going on. Our
professor came in, announced cancelled classes, but that all buildings would remain open with the projection sets on to the local news if they wanted to remain and watch together. By this time, I had heard of the plane that hit the Pentagon and the flight down in Pennsylvania. We sat together, a bunch of us with little more in
common than taking that class, barely knowing each others’ names as we’d just started the semester, and talked. One spoke on how her dorm mate had run out into the hallway, screaming a relative worked in the WTC Tower 1. Others were trying to call down to the city, finding busy signals as the overtaxed networks were preventing them from reaching their loved ones. Then, we watched the towers fall over and over as the television kept showing the images.
After about an hour, I got up and went home. Again, I walked home, tears on my cheeks, staring at the
beautiful sunny day, and asking why it was so sunny when obviously so many were dead, dying, and hurting.
My apartment was empty, as my mother was at work. I remember calling her at work, just to hear her voice.
I needed that comfort. I spent the rest of the day near the television, checking the internet, and hoping to hear how my cousin, who at the time was going to college further south towards the city. She was okay.
My mother came home, and I had to go to work at my part time job. It was a weird night. I wanted to stay
home, but they wouldn’t close our store. All night, nurses, fireman, and other emergency personnel from our city and county were buying supplies to head down to NYC. Many spoke on how they couldn’t think to do anything else. A few hours passed, I came home, and lit a candle and left it shining in the living room window. I spent another night crying myself to sleep, now knowing exactly what it was I was crying about.
In the weeks following, I wrote poems, and on the one year anniversary, I wrote a blog post with my recollection. On the other anniversaries, I did not feel the need to post about it, not because I wasn’t thinking, or remembering, but because everyone else was saying exactly what I felt: I won’t forget.
This year, I think the media has made a spectacle of this solemn event, and while I understand our society’s
insatiable need to just “know,” I don’t need to know more than what I already do. For 24hrs, 10 years ago, I spent an entire day at a loss for words, crying, shaking, and incredibly scared. I lived in Central New York, farm country, hours from the city. But, I was still scared.
I don’t need to buy remembrance T-shirts to show I haven’t forgotten, and I don’t need to buy mementos to show how patriotic I am and how much I love my country. I live that patriotism every single day. And, I will send a special set of thoughts out to the people who died innocently and trying to save others ten years ago, and hope we can let them rest in some peace and give their families a little closure.
Take care, everyone, and I love you.