Remembering What I Wish I Could Forget

Every September 11th for the past eleven years, I tell myself that I am going to block out the horrible memories and haunting images from September 11, 2001, and make it through the day without shedding any tears.  Today marks the eleventh year in a row that I was not able to hold back sobs, as pictures and video from that infamous day dotted the media landscape in tribute to the those lives that were lost, the family, friends, and nation who still mourn them, and, of course, the political pundits who want to capitalize on using this day to promote their party’s agenda.  It was overwhelming, and like most people, it took me back to that day eleven years ago when the world changed in an instant.

On September 11, 2001, my oldest daughter turned four months old, and she had a pediatrician’s appointment that afternoon.  That morning was absolutely spectacular here in Kentucky, with bright, clear, blue skies and mild temperatures, and I was enjoying quiet time with my beautiful daughter.  Normally, I did not watch television in the morning, but on that day, I wanted to see how warm it would be, so, I would know how to dress my daughter for the day.  I turned on “Good Morning America” just as the reports began to flood in that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  I had been to New York City many years earlier and seen the World Trade Center, so, I was stunned how a plane could have hit one of the towers.  My denial kicked in, and I dismissed it as an error in reporting by the media.  That denial was soon shattered, as I watched the second plane hit the second tower, and my brain could not register what my eyes were watching and what my ears were hearing.  I wanted to run away, but suddenly, the entire world seemed to be completely mad and unsafe.  There was nowhere to run. 

I sat frozen in front of the television as reports of the attack on the Pentagon, the plane crash in Pennsylvania, and the collapse of the towers filled my quiet morning with fear, shock, and chaos.  I remember cradling my daughter close to me and selfishly wishing that everything would just go back to ‘normal’, by that was impossible, as there was now life before 9/11 and life after 9/11, while life on 9/11 simply seemed to stop.  The stories of heroism, devastation, grief, anger, and patriotism combined with the seemingly never-ending funeral dirges being played for the nearly 3,000 lives that ended that day, and this became the new ‘normal’.  Even when life returned to ‘normal’, it was anything but ‘normal’.  It still is not.

As the days and weeks brought forth more details of the attacks, I kept looking at the face of my gorgeous, happy, healthy, and content baby girl, and I thought to myself that every single person who masterminded and carried out the terrorist attacks on 9/11 all came into this world just as she had, innocent, pure, and good.  I wondered then, as I do now, what happened to them along the way to harden their hearts and darken their spirits to the point that killing innocent people became the only option they saw as a means to achieve their goal.  It is the evil that lurks in the hearts of human beings that absolutely breaks my own heart, and the world seems to have an ample supply of people who are ready, willing, and able to carry out the dark desires of their heart at any given time and place.  There remains nowhere to run.

On 9/12/01, our nation came together to comfort one another, to mourn together, and to heal individually and collectively.  We were united in both our similarities and differences, and we were truly one nation.  In the aftermath of 9/11, we have fought other nations, and we have fought with one another.  While I wish I could forget the horror of 9/11, I wish even more that we all would remember the many poignant lessons we learned that day and in the days afterward.  The hope, strength, courage, resolve, determination, and faith that our nation has displayed during our darkest periods are the very characteristics that we need to embrace each and every day to dispel the darkness, in order to reveal the goodness and light that seems to have been dimmed of late.  May we never forget!

That’s another story . .  .

Categories: That's Another Story

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