eight septembers come and gone

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My mind is not here today.
It's not even in Oregon.
And sitting here at my desk ... I continue getting teary eyed as I think about the day, eight years ago, that life changed.
Americans became Americans again.
When my naive little 15 year old self realized the tiniest measure of the magnitude and weight of our freedom.

I haven't forgotten.
I hope I never forget.
I still get goosebumps when I think about it.
{I have teared up at least 5 times watching these stories to rewrite them.}

Back then, I didn't have the foresight to write this down. To chronicle the impact of this horrendous massacre on one little girl in Massachusetts.

I was sitting in English class. It was the second week of my second year of high school... and my teacher had just instructed us to begin that morning's free write. As my pen touched the paper and I thought about the cute boy in the back of the classroom and attempted to focus on the assignment, another of the English teachers stormed into the room. Mr. Speicher had a tremendously horrified look on his face. He half yelled, half trailed off as he said, "We're being bombed. They've bombed America. They've bombed the World Trade Center." He walked to the front of the room and turned on the TV. There, on the screen, was a horrible shot of the top of the World Trade Centers. Peter Jennings' voice flooded the room ... and we all sat, locked, watching in horror as first tower burned and the second plane hit the south tower.

I remember freaking out. Seeing people jumping out of the building. Then we watched as the towers, one after another, buckled and collapsed.

I kept thinking. My mind was on overdrive. Thinking about what this meant for me. For America. For my peace of mind and freedom. After that class, I remember people flooding somberly into the hallways desperately looking for their friends -- all too anxious for some semblance of comfort or normalcy. My best friend Holly and I stared at each other in disbelief. We hugged as tears began running down our faces. I remember praying so hard in my heart that no one I knew was on either of those planes. That everything would be okay.

The teachers left the TVs on for most of the day. Many were on mute so we could just see headlines running across the bottom of the screen. We quickly learned another plane had careened into the fields of Pennsylvania -- overtaken by so many courageous men and women; unwilling to let it hurt and kill thousands. And yet another had destroyed lives and safety at the Pentagon. One of the most horrifying moments for me was when we learned that the planes that hit the towers departed from Logan airport. Our airport. The one my dad flew out of. The one he was supposed to leave from just days after these attacks.

At the end of the day parents rushed to pick up their children. They, too, needed that moment of verification that their children were alright; that life was at least some bit of what it was before 8:46 that morning.

My mom came. She looked so distraught. My first words were, "Has the prophet said anything?" She shook her head, "not yet." "How's dad?!" "He's safe. Worried they won't let him home for a few days, though." He was on a business trip (they were SUPER frequent back then) in some European country. And as my dad isn't an American citizen ... he was worried it would be some time before they would allow him to travel back home to his family. My mom and I sat in minor silence, headed to pick up my brothers. I think we were thinking the same thing. My dad flew frequently. And as he controlled the systems for his company's business in Australia ... he flew there every couple months. On Flight 11. To LAX -- then to Australia. He was supposed to be on that flight within the next few days. The same flight that hit tower one.

Our eyes, minds, hearts were all glued to the destruction, the remnants, the horror left in Lower Manhattan, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. The hours stretched into days, and the horror continued. We learned people we loved were affected. They lost loved ones in the horror. In the terror.

Days stretched into weeks; weeks to months; months to years. And now, here we are. Eight years later and it still can't compute. I wonder if this is what survivors of December 7th, 1941 feel like. That it quickly became a date, an event for the history books, instead of a reality that destroyed the lives of people we pass on the street. Of people who have homes and lives and families and safety all compromised in this event.

I will never believe this only affected New Yorkers. I will never believe it affected just us East Coasters, or Northerners. It was that day that affected Americans.

I'm so grateful for my freedom. For the men and women who fight daily to protect it. And for those who gave their lives, or lost their lives on that day victims of anger and hatred from someone they don't even know. God Bless America. We sure need it.

Three fellow bloggers, all New Yorkers to some degree, chronicled it as well.
Read it. Each of them is beautiful, and none of them the same.

And the President gave a lovely and poignant address. I agree, Mister Obama. Wholeheartedly.


All My Love,

5 comments

  1. Wow, this gave me the chills. Incredibly written, my dear.

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  2. You are a beautiful writer, and that was said so well! This affected us all, and I hope people don't forget the impact it has made on our country by remembering it as just a day, but a historical nightmare!

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  3. I remember that day eight years ago very well indeed. I don't think I will ever forget.

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  4. well written... i can't believe it's been over eight years now. I won't ever forget either...

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