Remembering September 11

I have to admit, I didn’t want to write about or remember this day. I’m the type of person who prefers to shut off painful memories and move on, and I wasn’t sure whether anything I had to offer in remembering this day had much value. I realize now, that was a stupid thought, and I was inspired by a fellow blogger’s post about where she was on September 11, 2001 and decided it would be a good thing for me to write my own.

I was at home on September 11, 2001, awakened early in the morning (due to a two hour difference in time) by a call my husband received from his father telling him about the first attack. My husband came and told a groggy me what was going on, and to say that I had no idea really, was an understatement. I got up and turned on the news and sat there staring at the TV with my jaw on the floor for a while, wanting to cry, but not really being able to. Then I called my mom, who was not aware of what was going on either, and she turned on her TV and watched in horror as well. I remember watching when the second tower was hit, and when the first and second towers fell. I was just dumbfounded. I was so taken aback by the whole thing, I realised that I had been peeking out at the TV from a corner in our hall, trying to back away as the whole thing unfolded before my eyes on the television.

I didn’t know anything about these terrorists that hated us. I had lived my life up until then, feeling pretty safe and secure and as if nothing could ever harm me. It was a bit of a paradigm shift for me. I was a newly-wed, still with no children. My best friends were in the middle of their first pregnancies, and it was them that I thought about. How did they now feel about having children? How did I feel about having children now? It was scary to think about bringing such a precious person into the world after the realization that things are not nearly as safe as you had once believed.

I was really struck by the pride that we gained as a nation after the fact. Suddenly, I, along with the rest of us, was proud to be an American. Not that I wasn’t proud before, I think I just had a better understanding of what pride really was after. I thought about all the soldiers before hand who had served to protect our freedom. Two of my grandfathers fought in in WWII. I wrote my remaining grandpa a letter and thanked him for the sacrifices he made.

In February of 2002, my husband and I got the opportunity to fly to New York. We had a wonderful time while we were there, and were really struck by the friendliness and the togetherness of the city. The people there seemed stronger as a result of what happened. We went and saw Ground Zero, which was big gaping hole. Some of the buildings that were still standing had huge nets on them to protect people from falling debris, as the buildings themselves were in a fragile state. The church that was near the World Trade Towers was still standing, and the fence surrounding it was laden with all kinds of mementos and messages about and to loved ones that were lost. To be honest, I really couldn’t grasp how I felt about it then, and I still can’t now. It was too big for me to wrap my head around. I remember talking to people who had seen the towers before they fell, and I remember wishing that I could have seen them too. Somehow I felt that if I had seen them before, I could really grasp the depth of the loss that happened there. While we were there in New York, one of my friends gave birth to her baby back at home. Us physically being in New York as her child was born was a little cathartic.

It was later that I was really moved by all the children that were conceived on September 11. I really saw it as an act of great defiance towards the people who hate us so much. We will move forward with our lives by creating life through countless acts of love.

Today, I am at home with my two defiant acts of love, Drew and Beau. They are blissfully unaware of what happened, unaware of the fact that they have an enemy out there. I pray that they will never have to be aware of it, but, unfortunately I think that no generation will be left untouched by things like this. Instead, I will teach them to be proud Americans, and to not forget what happened on this fateful day five years ago.

Nine Months After September 11
“Nine Months After September 11”
An etching I did while still in college from a photo taken of my friend holding her daughter’s little toes right after she was born.

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8 thoughts on “Remembering September 11

  1. Good words Sarah. We too concieved Ta right after 911. I have to admit we were a scared at the idea of bringing another child in a world so full of hate. But we were comfoted by God and His awesome protection and well here she is.

  2. I was home with my seven week old baby. I remember holding her and crying as I watched the towers crumble. She looked at me with those angelic eyes, and I feared that I had brought her into an evil world. The terrorists’ plan failed. We lost lives, but instead of destroying the heart of America, they only made us stronger. I feel like that had to be a real slap in the face. I pray that as a nation we will continue that unity and realize we are one nation, under God, with indivisibility and justice for all.

    thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Wow am I glad you decided to write this. Not only is the writing beautiful, the etching is also. I loved that you brought out the fact that many couples clung to each other that night, and in that act, created new life, definitely a shaking our fists in their faces. I so want to see Ground Zero – I think I’m still in the process of processing…..Thank you Sarah.

  4. John, Rachel and I were at the twin towers in New York several months before 9/11. We have some great pictures of us there. I have one of them framed and on my wall. It is kind of weird looking at it and picturing them gone. We are planning another trip there in a couple months. Even before 9/11 the people were so kind and friendly everywhere we went. A great place to visit, but I dont think I would want to live there.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing that. I still feel like I’m processing what happened that day, as I’m sure just about everyone does. I was eight months pregnant with the girls when it happened. My husband woke me up and kept saying ‘Now don’t get too upset’ over and over before he told me, because he was afraid I’d go into labor. Since I was on bed rest, I spent the next two weeks watching CNN all day long. It was so weird feeling the babies moving inside me while I watched it all unfold.

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