The “Where you were on September 11th” question always comes to mind to me on this day, and I parallel that with a question I heard often as a child in a different era. That question was “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” At that time, that was considered a national phenomenon, and his death as America viewed it on television, (an instrument of communication still new to that time) a national tragedy. Because everyone could remember exactly where they were when he was shot, and they were shocked and saddened and mourned the loss of our president. Republicans, democrats and the like came together. We actually did have some class about politics back then, at least the general majority did. A president, whether elected by those or not, was treated with respect. The nation was stunned, and no one ever forgot where they were on that day.
I wasn’t born then, so that’s where I was. As an adult, and after what I consider our “Where were you when Kennedy was shot” moment, I can say for certain I remember every detail as I witnessed the live report and the second plane crashing into the twin tower. That was 13 years ago and a lifetime for me. I was a single mom, and my youngest son was 9 years old, sick with fever and I was home from work, praying I wouldn’t get fired because back then single working moms weren’t given any more leeway or understanding than anyone else.
Laying in my bed with him as I tried to keep his fever down, the cartoons were interrupted by “a special report” and as I switched channels there was nothing but the same picture on every channel. I can still see that picture as clear as day. Two tall buildings, one burning, a white sky, the reporter speaking something I wasn’t hearing because the shock of what I was seeing I was too wrapped up in trying to comprehend, then a plane strangely turning into a building and more smoke. It went all by in slow motion in what I can only describe as an extreme surreal moment. As we both watched the horror before our eyes, I held him in a tight embrace, tears rolling uncontrollably down my face as I tried hard to keep strong, stay quiet, and not let the fear show through so as to not scare further my sick baby. I’m not sure how much time passed before the next thought came to my head- but it was only about those I love, as I called my older sons’ school and said that I would be coming immediately to pick him up. After at some point confirming the doctors office would still be keeping our appointment later that day, we arrived our pediatricians office and Jim got a prescription as the diagnosis was an ear infection. I remember talking to the nurse, still, we all didn’t know to what extent the death toll was and all going on, and she told me her son worked in one of those towers. She had been trying to call and hadn’t gotten through. I wonder if she ever saw him again.
We went home and prayed and tried to get through the day, bewildered and in a daze and glued to the events that continued even after that moment to unfold.
That’s where I was on September 11, 2001. Until the day I no longer live, I will remember every detail of. I imagine I am not alone.
My heart pains and goes out even further this morning as I start to recall the rest of the story. Remembering the other planes, the one that hit the Pentagon and the everyday people flying to their destination knowing not they would be called to heroic action that day. Despite sacrificing their own lives, didn’t let the fourth plane further damage this country. The countless number of heroes and good people that didn’t hesitate to do what it took to help others, running in the the burning towers, and those inside comforting each other though knowing they would die. Their families, their friends, the nurse’s family- who all try to live on today without that person or persons in this world anymore. I wasn’t directly affected by the event, but then again I was. We all were.
When people knock others down, as I wrote about in my post yesterday, it stands out to us. One of the first pieces of advice I gave that young blogger was a quote that was passed on to me at exactly a time I needed to hear it, and today, in the remembrance of our generations “Where were you when Kennedy was shot” day, I give you all this quote to remember whether you are religious or not. Because as I always say, even in the midst of tragedy and destruction and hopelessness, I believe hope and inspiration can always be found, if you dig deep enough in the rubble.
Today we believe God wants us to know that …
there is much more good in this world than bad. Don’t let the media fool you.
There are kind, good-hearted, generous, loving people all over this world. They just don’t get nearly as much attention as the ‘bad guys’. Remember that there is goodness and love all around.
Do you remember where you were on September 11th, 2001? I’d love to hear about it, as we keep this day alive for the rest of our lives, so please feel free to share in your comments your story too.
Have a great day everyone, love each other, uplift, be kind and think of others.