Sunday, September 11, 2011

Then, Now

That day I woke up and got dressed. I put on my make-up. Ben and I drove to work. It was one of the few mornings we didn't have Morning Edition on.
This morning I woke up later than I would have that day. I got dressed and put on my make-up. I got breakfast for some of my children. I didn't listen to the radio because it's Sunday. We were getting ready for church.

Then, I walked into work to find people gathered in my boss' office staring at the television. Both towers had been hit. The South tower fell shortly after I arrived.
This morning I got to church and settled into the pew. I glanced at the clock after realizing what day it was, not for lack of remembrance this week, and tried to calculate according to Eastern Daylight Time, what was happening 10 years ago. It was almost nine o'clock here, it would have been almost 11 a.m. there.

Then I called Ben, my mom, and watched in disbelief at what was taking place in the East. I had been through the Kennedy airport once.
I have now lived just above NYC; I have wandered the city. I have only been to Ground Zero once.

Then I was three months pregnant with my first child.
Today I have five children.

That day I went home, watched CNN, and that evening I lay on my bed sorting through the impossibility of the day.
Today I made dinner, I read to my children, I watched a little bit of the coverage on MSNBC. They were replaying their broadcast from 10 years ago. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I heard on the radio yesterday a widow talking about how she's baffled by the statement "Never Forget" because every year on the anniversary of her husband's death, there is a big national bereavement, and she thinks it might be helpful for everyone to move on a little bit more, instead of replaying it all over again, and again, and again.

She may be right.

That day was like nothing I ever hope to relive and my experience was minor on the scale of horror that other's endured. I hope that no one else has to ever live through something as terrifying. I know that will probably not be the case.

But I wish all the world many more normal, happy, safe days, with chocolate chip cookies in the oven, and everyone they love coming back home.

Like I had today.


  1. Quite a contrast, well expressed.

  2. That Day. I was teaching middle school in Washington Heights. It was hours before I had tracked down my roommate and several best friends who worked in or near the towers. Amazingly, they were all safe. It was hours before I finally got a cell phone call through to my parents to tell them I was safe. I saw the fires burning all the way downtown. We saw them burning for days, and days, and days.

    The sky was perfect blue. The temperature gorgeously warm. Every year, I wish I were in New York to mark the day. This year, especially. I watched a lot of the coverage, and spent time mourning and remembering. Then I saw the dedication of the new memorial, and I felt healed. I hope I get to visit the memorial sometime soon, because even seeing it over television brought peace. "Thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears..."