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.