Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Words will never express

A day later.

6 years later.

I did not know a single person who was personally affected by September 11th. Not directly, anyway. But that day forever changed me in ways I cannot express because I don’t think I understand it entirely, myself.

At work that Tuesday morning, I knew nothing about the World Trade Center. The bombing there in the early 90’s had passed by me without creating a ripple in my consciousness. I don’t know why, about that either. So when a co-worker came out into our cubicle world and announced that a plane had hit one of the towers, I simply had no concept. We wondered aloud, thinking it was a small plane, an accident, something of that sort. Saying how awful it must be, still not really affected. But a little while later when that same co-worker came out again announcing that the second tower had been hit, it started to sink in.

It seemed that my world tipped somewhat that day, over the course of the day, and fear became a part of my being. As a country we have been quite insulated from all the wars and atrocities happening all over the world. It always happened somewhere else. I remember seeing the pictures on the news of Beirut, or Bosnia, seeing all the gray, burned, and bombed out buildings. That was how it registered in my brain. Gray. Everything was so gray in those places. But I never thought I would see that grayness here.

Later, when we heard the Pentagon had been hit by another plane, and that yet one more plane had crashed in Pennsylvania, the enormity of what was happening threatened to overwhelm me. I stood stock still outside my cube, trying in my own way to absorb what I was hearing. I was surprised when my co-workers seemed able to turn back to their desks and answer the phones as usual. When I had to answer the phone I was screaming inside, “don’t you know what’s happening?? Why are you calling us? Why aren’t you going home to your families?” Because that is what I wanted to do.

Both of my kids were in high school, both already there for the day. I wanted so badly to just go home, get them from school and take them with me. I wanted to be close, to be grateful I knew where my children were, and to just keep them with me. But I stayed, did my job, and went home later in the day as I usually did.

It seemed so strange to me that the world was still turning, that it hadn’t shifted from its axis just a bit that day that would forever put a wobble into our existence as human beings.

I never wanted to raise my kids in a world where I had to worry about terrorism inside our own country. It was inevitable that it would come here and I suppose I was na├»ve about that. But I grew up in an entirely different world, one without knowledge of extremism, incredible hatred and fear. And as I turned on the TV that evening and started to see the pictures, I recognized some of what I was seeing. It was gray. All the people, the buildings, the sky, the streets. Gray. It wasn’t somewhere else anymore, it was here and it will be a part of our lives now, forever.

There were many people who died that day. People going about their business, never expecting anything unusual would happen. Many others died trying to save the people who simply went to work. Still more worked so long and so selflessly to find survivors and then to find remains, something, to give back to the families who still had such terrible emptiness with not even a body to bury.

I mourn them, I salute them, and I will never forget them.

For myself and our country, I cannot help but weep for the loss of our innocence.


  1. What a beautifully written post; it pretty much sums up how I felt at the time. I couldn't bring myself to mention 9/11 on my blog, even though I felt like I should .... kudos for finding the words I lacked!

  2. Thanks so much. I had to say something even knowing it could never truly do the subject justice. I appreciate your comment, it means a lot.

  3. bette jo,

    You said it all so eloquently. I will never forget that day. As I mentioned before, we knew a Rich Guadagno on flight 93. He used to work for my husband a few years back. Ironically on Sept.11th, my husband was in Denver on business trying to get home. Since all flights were grounded, he had to rent a car. He was with his technician and out-of-the-blue they talked about Rich on the drive back, having no idea what-so-ever that Rich had been to the East Coast visiting family and was on Flight 93 on his way back to his fish and wildlife job in California. It was a sad sad day for us and for the entire country.

  4. Hi Bettejo,

    Agreed with others, so beautifully written. I feel for all those involved/affected.

    The impact was felt around the world. A brother of a gentleman from our Sydney office was killed that horrid day.

    May a like attack never happen again.

    Kind regards