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911 - I Will Remember!
September 11, 2001 was just like any other day until...
People still ask, from time to time, "do you know where you were and what you were doing at that moment on 911?" Of course I do, don't you?
Nothing is the same anymore though. I don't work for the same company. I don't feel as safe as I did before. And there is a sadness that is just always there, for the lives that were lost or changed that day. We've been at war ever since and lost so many more lives. Low-flying airplanes and the words "breaking news" cause a little knot to form in my gut. It's just not the same anymore.
When Time Stood Still
Every anniversary brings a bit of healing but the pain will never go away. We cannot put the families back together, erase the scars of injuries, or wipe away the visual memory of the images that played across our televisions. No we cannot erase our memories of that day when the Twin Towers collapsed; when a hole opened up in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania beneath Flight 93; when a portion of the Pentagon erupted in smoke and flames. Time stood still, didn't it?
I cannot erase the memory of that day. I remember the first words of a co-worker in the distance saying "a plane just hit the World Trade Center". Only a fool could have carried on normally after hearing those words. I knew, but I didn't want to know. I wanted to turn the clock back just one minute and stop it there, before I heard those words. I rose from my office and made my way to the television where CNN was already showing images of the exploding flames. How ignorant we were, standing there watching, believing it was a flight gone wrong or an air traffic control problem. I think we knew but were afraid to know. And as we watched, we saw it happen again and at that moment, we knew. We knew everything had changed.
In the hours, days, and weeks that followed, our emotions were touched in ways we could not have imagined. The news showed us the faces of the missing. Hour after hour, day after day, the pain of families looking for a loved one flashed across our television screens. I looked at the layers of rubble and wondered how anyone could survive it. I watched as volunteers and first responders moved each piece of rubble with hope of finding life below. Perhaps the pain was more than I could process because I remember the moment when my focus switched to images of millions of documents drifting from the offices above, becoming a part of the rubble. It was a virtual sea of paper representing the lives of all races, religions, social classes. This act of horror did not discriminate.
911 By The Numbers
- September 11 by the Numbers
If you don't think things changed, read what New York Magazine has to say about the impact September 11, 2001 has had on our lives.
I Will Not Forget
Things in our world have changed, for all of us, and yes, the healing has begun. It's a slow process. As a nation, we have taken steps to protect ourselves from future attacks. We have sacrificed a bit of comfort and freedom for the sake of being more safe. Families, as all families do, have picked up the pieces in the face of unbearable pain, and moved forward. Most cannot tell you how they did it. They just did - because they had to. The rubble has been cleared and there is a new landscape where the Twin Towers once stood. The Pentagon has been repaired; it is changed, but still repaired. And there is now a memorial to the fallen in that field in Pennsylvania. Yes, the healing has begun but it will never be complete because - we will always remember.
Today, and everyday, I honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and those who have fought on foreign soil to protect us from future attacks on our own soil. I will not forget the more than 4,000 soldiers who have died nor the more than 31,000 who have been wounded. I will not forget the more than 3000 who died on September 11, 2001 or the hundreds who were injured. I will not forget.
© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.