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Getting through these days
The long weekend
This is definitely not the best weekend to be a New Yorker. My husband and I have sought refuge in the start of soccer season. Opening weekend for our league is September 10 and 11th, so we have been working on stocking up the snack stand, printing out the rosters and schedules. My husband, as director has been working with his teams and coaches preparing for the start of the fall season. Although this is a twice a year routine with our family, we are taking extra care to be involved this time around because it allows us less time to notice and think about the date. We would rather focus on the excited yells and cheers of our children as they don their uniforms and enjoy the sport they have been practicing then stop and think about where we were ten years ago.
Prior to the start of each game this weekend, our children and fans will observe a moment of silence to remember all those who lost their lives on September 11th. We do not need that moment of silence. We remember them everyday. As native New Yorkers, we cannot look at our skyline without remembering that day and those we lost. I spent the afternoon at soccer practice talking to the parents. Every conversation ended in the same place. Where were you ten years ago?
My daughter has an intense interest in learning about the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. She was not born ten years ago. She cannot say that she remembers the two tall towers standing side by side. She does not remember the dust covered people on the news that my sons have spoken about. She knows nothing of the smoke that we all observed from the spot the buildings once stood. She has never looked at the skyline and had the memories we have. She wants answers, she has an desire to know why. The New York City teachers began to teach the curriculum laid out by the chancello'rs office today. Tonight, my daughter asked when we would see the tribute in light. This year she is aware and interested. She is also sad. She finally understands the loss. As the years pass, this day does indeed pass into history and we must be prepared to teach the lessons of it.
The lessons, that is not an easy one. Today I am going to pass on this one to my children. If you love someone, show them. Be sure that you don't take each day for granted. Marvel at sunsets and beautiful rainbows. Stop and breathe, smell the flowers, jump into the waves at the beach, let the wind blow your hair into an untidy mess. Don't worry so much, it really doesn't matter. Just love life, love one another, don't think bad things can't happen, they can and you should stay strong so that when they do, you are ready to fight. So many lessons from this day, some good, some bad.
I keep thinking of the pages and pages of names and faces that kept appearing in our newspaper of the missing. One day they added a face that my husband knew very well. It was a friend that he had spend the greater part of his high school basketball career on the court with. A friend who ironically had the nickname he shared with another giant basketball player. The name was Twin Tower. My husband had been working at an Italian restaurant part time during those days sending food over to the firehouses so the rescue workers would come back to the house to hot food whenever they stopped in. My father inlaw saw the familar face in the newspaper and brought the paper to my husband to break the news. My husband knew many people who were lost that day. Most of them athletes he had grown up beside on the court or the baseball field. Some he had coached. However, he had a unique connection to this particular friend. About six months before the terror attacks, he was walking in Manhattan. It was not one of his best days, he was going through some rough days personally and professionally. Out of nowhere he saw a face he had not seen in 14 years. This big bear of a man, reached out and gave him a great hug. They shared pleasantries and hoped to get together soon for a real visit. The down mood disappeared and the hug remained enveloping my husband even after they had parted. A few weeks after the attacks, my husband attended the memorial service of his friend. There he heard wonderful stories of a man who was indeed a messenger of God's word. A true believer, filled with faith. His children even said that God took him straight from the towers up to heaven. The lesson we learned: faith comes to us in many ways. One simple hug can touch someone for a lifetime.
Sunday is a day of remembrance. I am in awe of those who ran INTO those buildings when they were on fire and in danger of collapse. There are no words to describe the ultimate respect I have for the people who put the lives of others ahead of their own as so many did that day. I am saddened everyday by the fact that so many families lost loved ones, children grew up without a parent, spouses started to sleep alone in their beds and dinner tables all over the world had empty seats due to these terrible attacks. We must think of them. Those who have died and those who survived with scars, physical and emotional,not just on this 10th anniversary, but everyday. Everyday that we are here walking through this city, alive, we must remember those who gave so much. We must learn. and live our lives better than we did before 9/11/01.