Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering September 11th

On the way to the kitchen to start the coffee, I turned on the TV to catch the early morning news. When I looked back at the TV again, I wondered why they were showing some stupid disaster movie instead of the Today Show. Checked the channel. Checked the clock. Then sank to the floor as I realized that the image of the World Trade Center in flames was not some stupid disaster movie.

I had worked in that building. Two years before, I had quit my job with Aon Corporation to open a yarn store. Aon had offices on the upper floors of 2 World Trade Center, the south tower. I had been assigned to projects in the New York office, and had spent many days on the 105th floor. My former employer lost 176 employees that day. Colleagues and acquaintances, allies and adversaries. Friends.

By the time I had tracked down those people close to me who might have been there, it was time to wake my son for school. He was 10 at the time. How to tell him? Because, of course, he had visited Mommy at work in New York. He had ridden the fast elevator that made his ears pop, and had looked out the window at the Statue of Liberty so small in the harbor far below.

I couldn’t think of any real reason to keep him home from school, or me home from work that day.

Other than the fact that my illusions of permanence and safety had been shattered.

I went through the day in a daze. When my son came to the shop after school that day, he said that the kids just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand that lots of kids had sent their parents to work that morning, and the parents were not coming home.

Here in California, it is easy to act as if it never happened. New York and Washington and Pennsylvania are a long way away. Of course, the impact on us as a nation - politically, economically, militarily – is huge. But on a personal level, other than a bit of inconvenience at the airport, nothing much has changed.

I am, by nature, a cheerful and optimistic person. I’m not inclined to pick at scabs or wallow in bad feelings. I’ve tried (mostly in vain) to avoid the television coverage of this 10th anniversary. But when I saw this video posted on the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog yesterday, I couldn’t stop the tears.

So today I will be gentle with myself. I will call my son and remind him that I love him. I will remember that tomorrow can never be taken for granted.

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