Sunday, September 11, 2011

I remember

I remember seeing the towers fall as I watched on my television.  Hopeless, horrified.  I remember driving to my job at the American Red Cross that morning and seeing the blank looks on the faces of my coworkers.  I remember the skies being silent;  all planes were grounded.  As the day crawled by, I remember citizens calling our Red Cross office wanting to know what they could do to help.

I remember feeling angry.  I remember the awe I felt when I learned that a plane full of heroes averted an additional attack on Washington, D.C.  I remember the children who came into our office with coffee cans full of change to donate to the disaster effort.

I remember the last time I had dinner at Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center.  It was partly cloudy that evening, and as I looked out the window next to my table a cloud rolled by.  We were in the middle of it, like you are in a plane.  Cotton candy.  Up so high.

I remember visiting Washington, D.C. in October of 2001 while attending a high school reunion.  I stood not far from the spot where a shrine had been built to recognize those who were lost when the plane crashed into the Pentagon.  Photos, flowers, notes piled high.  In the distance, the wounded Pentagon itself.

I remember my high school boyfriend at that reunion.  He was a Navy Captain then.  He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "We didn't know or we would have stopped them."  He cried, and I hugged him.  I said, "You did the best that you could.  There are some things we cannot control."

I remember visiting New York City in 2006 and seeing the altered skyline for the first time I felt as though I had been slapped in the face.  When I stood at Ground Zero I remember feeling chills as though I had a fever.  I felt nauseated and confused and empty.

Earlier this year when CNN reported that Osama bin Laden had been apprehended I felt a hot, raging, primitive streak of something rush through me.  I don't know what it was, but I hope I never feel it again.  It was so powerful that it terrified me.

Those of you who died, I remember you.  I remember those of you surviving their loss.  Those of you who saw the buildings fall and still cannot sleep at night - I remember.  Those of you who have fought and sacrificed since then to keep us safe - I remember you.  Those of you who fought before, who served before, I remember you too.  You built something for us that is so precious that others want to take it away. 

Like it was yesterday.  I remember.

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