Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

It stuns me to think that 10 years have passed since that tragic day. A decade has gone by, and as I look back, I still can't begin to fathom what happened.

On that morning, I was attending my cousin's father's funeral. Not a happy day to start with to be sure. The service was sad, naturally, and as I drove back to my house to get ready for work, I was feeling nostalgic for times past. I remembered June's father with fondness, we had a running joke of sorts about a guy in a green truck.

Getting ready, I turned on the tv in the living room for noise, something I normally never do. I watched in horror as Matt Lauer related the events of the morning. I sank onto the couch wondering if this was an episode of Punk'd. I couldn't believe what I saw, couldn't imagine this was real. And then I watched the first tower fall. (I'm chilled now, thinking of it as I write this.)

I remember feeling panicked, as if the end of the world was beginning. What could I do? Where were my parents? My brothers? My best friend? As the hours progressed, and I heard of the other tragedies, I knew this was it. The end of the world as I knew it was upon me.

My boss (another cousin) called and asked what I was doing, where was I, I should have been at work already. I told him there was no way I was working, I had too many other things to do, namely pray. He said, (and I will never forget this because he screamed at me) "Get your ass in the car and get up here. What's happening in New York doesn't concern you, you're insignificant in the scope of what these bastards are trying to achieve."

So I went. Yes, I did. During the 30 minute drive I couldn't help notice there were no planes in the air. Rhode Island is small, and you can always see planes landing and departing no matter which part of the state you're in. It was eery to think that at any minute a bomb was going to fall out of the sky. (At the time I left the house, the media still had no clear focus on what had happened, other than terrorists had infiltrated the country.)

I worked, but as there were television moniters at the site, the clients we had weren't buying and I was home relatively early. By that time, both my parents were home, and we sat glued to the television set, while my mother tried frantically to find my youngest brother, a Captain in the Groton, Ct. Fire Department. Knowing my brother, I was sure he and his crew were either on their way, or in New York.

I'm not sure if I should be thankful or not that he wasn't. Groton is a Navy base and the Commander would not release them to go, just in case the "bastards" did something else. During that unbelievable day, no one was sure what was going to happen next. My brother deeply regrets he was not allowed to go to New York.

Looking back, I cannot help be overwhelmed with emotion. Who among us cannot? On that day, I may have been "insignificant" but the people who lost their lives were not. Every single one of those souls lost was significant to someone. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, children, grandparents. They were all SIGNIFICANT. The men and women who gave their lives to help save others were SIGNIFICANT.

September 11 was a turning point in our nation's history. In the hundreds of years since our country was founded, blood has been spilled. We have seen the ravages of war, both inside and out. But never have we been attacked in such a way as to damage the very fiber of our America. Our nation, one nation, under God, with liberty, and justice for all.

None of us should ever forget what happened that day. Our children should be taught the significance of those poor people. The significance in the strength of our nation. The significance of what it means to be American.

God Bless Us, Everyone.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We hear the number and often forget each one of those people had a life, had family, had dreams. Each one was significant.

Shelley Sly said...

Thank you for sharing this. It's a tough day. We all remember exactly where we were. It truly did feel like the world was coming to an end, just one tragedy after another.

I lived right outside NYC at the time, so I could see all the smoke in the sky from the damage. That smoke lasted for days; reminded me every day that I didn't just dream it.

Anne Gallagher said...

Alex -- I watched the news this morning for two minutes but had to stop because I was crying so much I upset Monster Child. She's too young to understand the significance of the day.

Shelley -- We all do remember. It's one of the most tragic days in history. But sometimes I'd like to forget. It's just too sad.

Saumya said...

I've been watching these amazing documentaries all morning and afternoon about this tragic day. It's difficult not to become angry and upset throughout them. The stories of people who lost their loved ones are the hardest for me. There was one woman who spoke to her husband and then never heard from him again. It feels like a terrible dream for me so I can only imagine how it was for New Yorkers.

Anne Spollen said...

I grew up in NYC and during elementary school, we had class trips to see the towers being built. It's an unimaginable loss that each of us struggles with every day. I try to see it now as something that connects us.