This is the third September 11th that has passed since I started blogging. But this is the first time I've talked here about the events of that day.
I don't have a personal connection to the horrors that took place at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon or in a field in Pennsylvania. Like many Americans, my connection to the day is the memory of where I was, what I was doing, when the images first started rolling across the television screen.
I was home with Charlie, who was just a little over a year old. Mike was on his way to take Annie to preschool. We'd seen the first tower struck before he left, but at that point no one realized it had been a deliberate act. When the second tower was hit, I called to tell him. He was on his way to the office, but came back home to watch. We sat in front of the TV in the basement, unable to wrap our brains around what was happening.
After an hour or so, I got in the car and went to pick up Annie early from school. I wasn't afraid that she was in any danger, but the thought that something might happen and we would be separated for an extended period of time was more than I could handle. I went to Mass that evening and we all slept in the same bed that night. I remember how eerie it seemed that the skies were quiet and void of planes for several days following the attacks.
I took in as much of the news footage as I could handle over the days and weeks. My father-in-law put together a "go" bag for us with emergency supplies that we could grab in the event of another catastrophic event. I stocked up on baby formula and diapers and bottled water and rolls of plastic, though Mike kept insisting it was unnecessary.
I don't know when -- I don't think it was very long -- but life got back to normal. We took a pre-planned vacation to Disney World that December and remarked how un-crowded it was because people were still leery of traveling.
The first anniversary of 9/11 came. I watch the news programs, read the magazines, that commemorated the event, but moved on within a week of so. Then the second and subsequent anniversaries. I don't really remember them. And now today, it's the 9th anniversary of the attacks on the U.S. There were numerous festivals in Indianapolis today -- the Greekfest, an art fair, a village market fair, a French market. And I'm sure a few memorials as well, though none publicized as well as the celebratory events.
And maybe being celebratory is an observance in and of itself. That the U.S. will not cower in fear, that our spirit will not be broken. I watched a 9/11 documentary called "The Falling Man" on YouTube, but I didn't talk to my kids about the day.
But I did find myself wondering about how those directly affected by the tragedy spent the day. Those who lost loved ones or who were involved in the clean up efforts. I imagined that it might be something (on a much larger and more painful scale) like we experienced just after Charlie was born.
He had been home from the hospital for 48 hours. A nurse came to check on him and me and noticed his color was a little too orange. Long story short, he had severe jaundice. We had to take him directly to the NICU, sign releases for transfusions and hear all the bleak things doctors have to tell you when someone you love is very sick. Later that night, Mike and I went to dinner and were numb. We remarked about how strange it was that the whole world was going on around us while ours had stopped. That no one realized what we were feeling inside. I remember it feeling as though I were in a bubble.
And so today, I wondered if that's how the 9/11 survivors feel -- now 9 years later. Did they look around at the people going to festivals and the laundromat and out to dinner and wonder how could they be doing such "normal" things? Did they think to themselves that their world had come to its annual halt and how could others be approaching and moving through the day so emotionally unencumbered?
Was today a day of overwhelming sadness? Or is it hard to distinguish the sadness of today from the sadness and grief they feel on any other day without their loved one? I wondered if I did a disservice to the memories of their loved ones by not making a more formal observance of the day.
Did you mark the 9th anniversary of the attacks in some special and deliberate way? Where were you nine years ago when the world, at least momentarily, stopped turning?