I had taken a year off from teaching and was doing some desktop publishing to help make ends meet. I was at home, working alongside my husband when his business partner called and said, “Turn on Your TV.” He asked her why, and she told him that someone had just flown a plane into the World Trade Center. We walked into the living room, turned the tv on and started to watch. At first we were in shock. I remember making comments, wondering what was going on, and how this could have happened. I don’t remember if we watched the second plane fly in or not..It was a blur at that point.
I kept asking Woody, “Are they going to fall?” He said “I don’t know, but if they do, the death toll is going to be unimaginable.”
Then the first tower began to fall and it became so very very real. I wasn’t in shock anymore. Tears streamed down my face and I began to cry uncontrolably. I remember saying, “No,no,no Oh God, no.” It was the single most horrible thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life. Because you just knew, right then and there, all of the consequences all at once.It wasn’t much later that the second tower joined its twin in defeat.
I remember wondering later how someone could revel at something like this. How did they think God would reward them for killing so many innocent people. But they were not as successful as they had hoped, thank God. Woody said that it was a miracle that the buildings pancaked the way they did, because had they fallen any other way, the death toll would have been so much more.
I remember people walking around with posters of their loved ones who had been in the Trade Center when it fell. They walked for hours, ignoring aching souls and aching feet, asking, “Have you seen this person? This is my father, my mother, my brother, my sister, my husband, my wife, my nephew, my niece; this is my child. I remember my heart breaking, knowing that odds were, they would never find even enough of thier loves ones to bury.
I remember the dogs that they brought to the trade center and asking Woody, “Do you think they will find anyone stilll alive?” He looked at me with pity and said, “No, sweetie, they are cadaver dogs, they are searching for the dead.” I remember the abject horror I felt, when I realized that what he said was true. How many times can your heart break? And it was happening for all of us, everywhere.
I remember thinking, I don’t ever want to be in a large crowd of people ever again. I don’t want to go to Disney World, I don’t want to be in the Superdome. Heck I don’t even want to cross the Causeway Bridge anymore. There were blackhawks all over New Orleans for probably a couple of years after,and military planes flying in formation.
I remember our President telling us that he knew we were afraid, but we had to live life as usual, we had to find a way to go on, so that the terrorists would not win. There were moonlight candle tributes and we treated each other with so much care and love, healing each other iwth hugs and kisses and love. We found out that we were stronger than we ever knew possible. We would survive this, together.
It was a testiment to our country that when we found the miraculous few that survived the falling towers,we were overjoyed. It lifted our spirits, renewed our souls, gave us a reason to follow the President’s advice to live life as normal. Like the starfish, we saved that one, and that one, and that one…and in those moments of pure, unadulterated joy, we saved ourselves too…
All of our moments weren’t proud ones, but they were human ones. We had a friend who used to see a man of the Muslim faith walk in his neighborhood in the full attire of his religon, including hair and full beard. A few days after nine eleven, he saw the man walking again in the neighborhood and he could not believe his eyes. This man was now clean shaven, wearing a baseball outfit along with cap. He said to our friend, with fear in his eyes, “You see, I’m an American, just like you.” All our friend could do was smile and try to offer comfort. Hot tears stung his eyes as he walked away from the man and into his home. Tears of shame. The anger we had shown our own people, because of their faith, well, let’s just say, it wasn’t one of our finer moments.
But, for the most part, most of us where focused on finding the people truly responsible for the tragedy. I remember my baby boy’s anger and his promise to go off to war and find the men that had done this terrible thing. I remember the day he called us up and said. “We got another one mama,” with pride in his voice.
I remember the rebirth of patriotism. America got her second wind in the years that followed. We may be back to “business as usual,” but our step is still stronger, still fiercer, and still more loving, caring and compassionate than ever before. We are the people of the United States of America and we will stand up with courage, faith and strength of character. Heel crushing snake as Ben Franklin had once drawn, We as Americans will not be tread upon.
I remember a proud nation on the mend. Only in the USA, only we the people could have done that. And I remember today, still being so proud of all of us. We made it back. We are surviviors..
Onward and Upward!
*The picture above is of my daughter and her brave co-workers and is meant as a tribute to all first responders and all who serve our country. You are the real heroes, the people that make this country great! God bless all who fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness……