Today is a day we always remember…we remember where we were, what we were doing, and how we felt at the moment that the first plane hit the tower. It was a rush of fear so strong through our country, and for those who had loved ones in the towers.
I remember that I was getting ready to take my fifth child, who was just two months old, to the pediatrician for a well visit. My other four babies had gone off to school. I turned on the news just as the second tower was hit. I think at first most of us weren’t sure what had happened or what was going on.
I drove up the Garden State Parkway, watching the trail of smoke in the sky. As I passed over the bridge in which I could see the NY skyline, I saw both towers on fire. I took my son for his check-up, and needless to say, it was somber in the office. My pediatricians’ son worked in the towers, and he hadn’t heard from him as of yet. In time I would learn that he was running late for work and was on the ferry when the planes hit. When I left the office, the towers had fallen. And my heart sunk, as I knew right then and there our country was under attack.
I was married at the time, and my husband was on a business trip in Washington state. He wouldn’t be flying home…he ended up renting a car and driving cross-country to get home to his family. He had just done work in the towers only the week before.
What I remember the most is the eery silence that followed that day, and for the days that followed. I remember my children coming home from school, asking a million questions, and me desperately trying to keep them away from the television. Yet I remember, even as young children, they needed to understand or do something. So, they gathered the other kids in our neighborhood and trekked to the corner, which was on a busy street. They stood with small flags and hand made signs of the USA, yelling to the cars to “honk your horn for the USA!” Such a small gesture, but one I’ll always remember.
The silence of no planes in the air was more deafening than a house filled with children; it was ghostly, scary, and unnerving, not knowing if there was more to come. I remember the smell in the air, even at the Jersey Shore…one you never forget.
Yes, it is a day to remember, to honor those lost, and the families living without them. It is a day to “never forget.”
Yet, while we’ll always remember the tragedy, we need to remember how a country joined together as one that day; how strangers consoled you; how neighbors were suddenly all huddled in the street together. We need to remember the feelings of togetherness that day, not just the feelings of the loss.
“Never forget the tragedy of 9/11, yet never forget the bond of a country, a neighborhood, a town, of strangers.”
Imagine if we all remembered that as well…
Wishing you peace today and always,