Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11-- 10 years later

Today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  We are surrounded by the media coverage of that tragic day. Future terrorists attacks remain ever present, heightened by the anniversary date. 

I always find a personal story very interesting.  I recall my grandmother, telling of the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.  My mother's story, sitting in her classroom when the announcement that President Kennedy had been assassinated.  I recall, in a elementary classroom, a teacher, crying as she entered our classroom to announce that President Reagan had been shot ( actually, she blurted out in her tears that he had been assassinated and was killed ).  I recall watching the Space shuttle Challenger explode, while standing in my high school commons area.  All of us remember a tragic event that has altered our lives ever remaining in our memory, never to leave. 

September 11, 2001 is no different.

It was a beautiful fall day here in Minnesota.  Ryan our oldest son was twelve, just starting the seventh grade.  Michael was eight weeks old.  Jim had left for work early that morning.  I had a window of time to drive to town, a twenty minute jaunt, get my shopping done and arrive home before Michael would need to be fed again.  My mother-in-law had offered to watch Michael while I shopped.  As I was driving, there was the announcement on the radio that there had been a plane crash in New York.  Little more was said at that time.  By the time I arrived at my mother-in-laws, images of Word Trade Tower One were on CNN.  At that time, the report was that it was a small single engine plane.  Keeping on schedule I left. I continued on my quest to shop and do my best to be back to take Michael home in two hours. 

Much happened while I shopped.  World Trade Tower Two was hit and had collapsed.  I arrived to pick Michael up, in my short time away, our country was under attack.  The Pentagon had been hit. As a public we were still unaware of the tragic ending of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.  I did not stay at my mother-in-laws house but for a few minutes.  I watched CNN standing in her living room and just wanted to go home.  Quickly, I loaded Michael up and tuned into the radio.  Once home, I got Michael into his crib and unloaded my shopping bags.  I put what needed to be refrigerated away, got Michael a bottle, changed him, poured a large cup of coffee and settled into a chair in the living room, Michael cradled in my arms.  Michael now fed, I watched in horror the images and reporting on CNN.

Jim called me from work.  He had no television coverage where he was at, he wanted me to describe to him what I was seeing.  It was indescribable, I told him.  I asked him if he was coming home?  He said no, he needed to stay at work, he would be home this evening.  I sat there, feeling all alone.  After some reflection, I realized thousands were not ever coming home.  It is interesting how we immediately take a situation, and make it about our self first.  I was thirty-two years old.  Older and a bit more wiser, I am much more focused on a life where in almost every situation, it is not about me.  I am a better person for that, I try to reflect that each and everyday, with each situation and person I meet.

I add this next thought, in reflection of something I have struggled to do.  I have a cousin ( many of them to be accurate) whom since 9/11 has married.  I have only met his wife a few times.  I have a wonderful picture of her taken in 2000, dancing at my wedding, with a smile that is contagious.  Her brother was one of the many heroes of Flight 93, that crashed in Shanksville, PA.  Names are not something I have any right to share .  I have not sent a letter of condolence, yet.  Unsure always of what I would say, if it was appropriate to say anything, or that to much time has passed to put pen to paper.  I have taken the cowards way out and done nothing at all.  I realize today, I shall find the words and pen that letter.  


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