9/11: 10 Years Later

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I can't watch the footage of 9/11.
I've tried.
I can't.
I want to. To remember. To never forget.
But I can't.

Because the truth is, I will never forget. I was not there that day. I was 1,245 miles away. Sitting in a World Geography class at Ozark Christian College. Dad Bare/Stand-in Prof. told us that something big was happening in New York. In between classes, I ran to my dorm and turned on the only TV set in the lobby. Watched the horror unfold. I called my mom. My roommate called her mom. I remember crazy, insignificant details of that day 10 years ago. Nothing in this world was ever the same again.

I was more than a thousand miles away from Ground Zero on that day. Unconnected, personally, to any person affected. But in the same moment, deeply connected to a nation that is forever affected and changed.

This year, the anniversary of September 11th is hitting me harder than it ever has before. I think it mostly has to do with my precious baby girl who is sleeping in the next room as I type. Sleeping. Silent. Sweet. (Oh, so sweet.) Innocent. And as I attempt to watch the footage of the day that changed our nation, I begin to imagine what the conversation will be like when Gia is old enough to understand. At least, old enough to try to understand. Because who can really understand such hate? I know there will be a day when she asks me the question, "Mommy, where were you when the plane hit the towers?"

As a little girl, I remember learning about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I went home from school that day and asked my mom if she remembered where she was when that happened. She did. She remembered crazy, insignificant details of that day. It was a day that changed history.

When Gia asks me where I was, I will tell her. I'll probably even include the crazy, insignificant details that I pray even time will not erase. The answer to that question is easy. Objective. But what will I tell her when she asks the next question... "WHY?"

What will I tell my daughter? How do you break the bubble of innocence with an arrow of evil, while reassuring her that everything will still be alright? How do you respond to a question that has no reasonable answer? I remember the uncertainty I felt after 9/11. I remember the first time I flew after it. The heightened security, the nerves of fellow passengers. Life has never been the same.

I'm not trying to make this about me. I'm not trying to make 9/11 about me or my feelings. I completely understand that the emotions I feel leading up to this day are miniscule and insignificant compared to the feelings of those who were actually there. But I also know that the stirrings in my heart are not mine alone. Millions of Americans feel what I feel. Violated. Wronged. Connected. Vindicated. Strengthened. Helpful. Compassionate. Hopeful.

I know that some day, Sean and I will venture to the big City. We will visit Ground Zero. And we will cry. We'll stand at the edge of the waterfalls, seven stories deep, and the tears will flow. Gia will probably just hold our hands and ask us "Why?" Then we will stand before the bronze parapets where all the names of those who died are inscribed. And we will tell her. We will tell her that we visit this place to Remember. We read the names of strangers so that we will never forget. And we will tell her about the sacrifices of many, who have fought for our country. To secure the freedoms we take for granted. Speech. Worship. Work. And more. We will tell her that our tears of sadness mingle with tears of gratitude. And that there is no reason for WHY September 11, 2001 occurred. But that there is reason to remember the sacrifices and to be thankful for the country in which we live and the people who made it great.

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2 Lovely Words

  1. shey, this was so beautiful.

    i cried.

  2. I can't watch the footage either. Not because I don't care, but because I care so much. Thank you, Shey, for putting your feelings into beautiful words and expressing what, I'm sure, many people feel.


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