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Sunday, September 11, 2011

I don't want to talk about 9-11

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Today is the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks of America. I'd rather not talk about it.

I'll talk about the Space Shuttle disasters. I'll talk about the wrath of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. I'll talk about last spring's tornadoes that killed so many. They were all unexpected and sad events, as was 9-11.

But none of them made me feel vulnerable like the attacks on America. I like to be in control. I like to at least feel like I have some control, even if it's really just an illusion. September 11, 2001 spun my world -- our world -- out of control. And that's why I don't want to talk about it. 

However, we don't live in a bubble. 9-11 is part of the history of our country and, whether I like it or not, part of my own life history.

The timeline of events as they happened at our house is a little hazy. I think the first tower had been struck and it seemed like a freak accident, so Mike took Annie to preschool.

I remember calling him on the cell phone when the second tower was struck. Instead of going on to the office, he came home and we spent the morning watching the television in disbelief.

After a few hours, once it was clear that America was under attack, I went to pick up Annie. I was worried that something might happen in our city and I might be unable to reach her. I could barely breathe at the thought.

In the late afternoon, I talked to my mom on the phone. She wasn't sure what had happened, but she heard and felt an explosion in their city. There is a large Air Force base there and we were fearful that the attacks were continuing, even though air traffic had been frozen by then. We later found out the "explosions" were the sonic booms of fighter jets taking off from the Air Force base.

I went to Mass that night. It was very crowded for a Tuesday night. People stood and called out intentions for prayer, something that is out of the norm during Mass. My fears did not go away at church, but I did feel some comfort in being there.

That night, I insisted that Annie and Charlie sleep with us. Mike thought I was being silly and overly dramatic. I didn't care. I wanted them close to me. They were oblivious to the events of the day, so the family bed for the night wasn't for their benefit, but for mine.

In the days ahead, I would watch countless hours of coverage on the news. I would become fixated on the fact that very few body bags were needed at the World Trade Center site. I would remember stories of those who died and those were left behind. The man from New Jersey who died because he stayed with someone who couldn't get out of one of towers; his wife said she knew he was "working his rosary beads."  Lisa Beamer, the pregnant wife of Flight 93 hero Todd Beamer. The man whose life was saved because he chose to take his child to kindergarten that day, which delayed his arrival at the Twin Towers.

I remember it. I just don't want to talk about it.

11 comments:

Jennifer said...

I completely understand.

Nate's Mom said...

Very well said Amy. I too remember the day very clearly. And the days that followed. I taught preschool then. The thing that sticks with me is watching my 4 & 5 year olds process by imitating what they saw. They would stack block and fly plastic airplanes into them. Tragic.

Unknown Mami said...

I remember it too.

Unknown Mami said...

I remember it too.

Sherry (city chic on a farm) said...

I'm right there with you Amy. The feelings we had do to a reaction of what had happened will never be forgotten. There are times when airplanes fly really close to the farm, and I have put my body over my boys once in fear it was going to hit the house. That day has changed use forever.

@JustHeather said...

I don't mind talking about it. I just don't want to relive it every year. I don't need to see it rehashed each year to see it clearly in my head.

Shelley said...

Just finished my blog post about the 9-11 disaster, just because I thought a remembrance was in order. As you say, it's part of our country's history, like it or not. But I remember too, very clearly. What I remember, I wrote down. But I don't want to watch any camera footage of that day on any of the cable news sites. I don't want to hear talking heads re-hashing the events. There are some things that are just too painful.

Sharon said...

I've gained incredible goosebumps reading this.
I'm not yet able to fully explain it to my oldest without starting to cry, and he's not yet old enough to know all the facts.
It's hard to think about it all, but every year one thing is for sure: I feel incredibly proud of our military, and proud to be an American.

Lana said...

I'm with you! I was getting ready to teach Senior English and was putting the attendance out on the door when I saw another teacher walking by with this indescribable look on his face. This guy was a former Marine and very hard to upset. He just said, "Turn on your TV." And so I did, and so we all watched the horror unfold. I had to remind my kids that this was real because it seemed so unreal......

I think I remember the empty sky the most from the days that followed, just like our ancestors saw it, pristine, bright, brilliant with morning and evening colors, but without all the contrails of the planes....

I couldn't watch much of the memorial ceremonies then or now. It's just too hard, but I DO remember.

Julie said...

I was working in a clinic and someone called to tell us that a plane just flew into the World Trade Center. It was early and not many patients had arrived yet, so we went to the lounge and turned on the TV. Couldn't believe it when we SAW, LIVE, the 2nd plane hit the other tower. Then we all KNEW it was a deliberate attack.

One of our doctors was married to an Air Force doctor at our local base. He got called to go to New York to work on a "portable emergency hospital" on a ship in the NY harbor, to help care for the thousands of expected wounded. Unfortunately, he was only there a few days because it became obvious that there weren't many wounded, but the thousands that were killed.

I haven't flown on a plane since, not out of fear, but lack of opportunity or reason. But I would not grumble about the luggage checks and metal detectors, but would feel more safe.

I am glad that the memorial ws built and that the day received special attention, since we all promised that "we will not forget" but I , too could only watch pieces of the footage being replayed today.

Nate's Mom said...

Amy, check out my blog for a 9/11 smile.