Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't Forget

I was driving to work on a crystal clear sunny day in that time between summer and fall. The beauty of the weather that day really struck me. What a perfect day. I was listening to popular DJs on a popular radio station. Abruptly, news just in, an airplane accident, it flew into the WTC. Suspicion that this was a pilot error, but what exactly went wrong? What could have happened? Grief overcame my body. This was no accident. I was just sure. I was also sure that this was not the end. "They" were finally getting us. Another plane hit the other tower. In fact, I wondered if it was the beginning of the end of the country. It had to be pretty obvious now, it was on purpose. I could barely drive to work. I'm surprised I didn't have an accident. I could barely navigate my way to a parking spot. I was shaking.

I was the first at work. Where was everyone? I needed to talk and I'm sure others needed to talk too. I turned the radio on. The first coworker appeared. The horror in her eyes met the horror in mine with recognition. The next coworker waltzed in. Oblivious. He laughed and asked what was wrong with us? He didn't know. This country was only very recently the country he called home, and from his lack of reaction, I just didn't think he could understand the severity when we explained what had happened. We listened to the radio, there was no TV to watch, probably better off at that time. The first tower fell, the coworker who wasn't a native nodded in sympathy. We listened. The next tower fell. Our hearts fell. Later were reports of the crash into the pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania. I'm not sure why they didn't let us all go home that day.

Later I got to see it on TV. Over and over and over and over and over again. So surreal. A beautiful day and out of the blue, so unexpectedly. Terror. Disbelief. We joined our community for a candle light vigil, to remember those who died and to come together because we needed one another.

All flights had been canceled. Because of this, an interview I had for a job out in Southern California was postponed. When flights started up again I flew out. The morning I was flying back to Chicago and was waiting in LAX, TV screens announced the initial reports of the beginning of the war in Afghanistan. And at that point, I don't believe the increased security measures we have today were even in place.

For a long time after that I mourned, with the rest of the country. I was mad, like most of the country. I wanted this to be stopped from ever happening again. I didn't know anyone who was directly affected by this act of terrorism. Yet we were all affected.

Please let us all remember this tragic day for as long as we live and be so grateful for what we are blessed with and to those who have done what they can do and everything they know to do to keep us all safe.

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