Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mom Remembers

I still remember the morning.

I was sleeping easily in my bed, not wanting to get up and face the day.

A call came.

"Did you hear the news?" a voice asked. It was my sister-in-law and she was babbling about some buildings in New York, screaming into the phone. "You need to turn on the television!" she wailed.

I told her, half asleep, that I would, and then hanging up the receiver, closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep. What did she mean the buildings? What had happened in New York? I couldn't sleep, suddenly got up from my bed and walked downstairs to the television. I was not prepared for what I saw.

It was like I'd suddenly been whisked into a horrifying movie, the reality of which didn't hit me for some moments. I watched the World Trade Center crumble before my eyes, and people, so many people rushing from buildings and down streets through white ash and destruction. Later, I would watch news broadcasts and see people dropping from windows, others walking through streets, blood dripping down their faces.

"The hijacked planes were used as a bomb to destroy [the] buildings and the people in them," I wrote in my journal the day following the attack. "At last count there were 800 lives taken. The TV was on all day yesterday and I have been a little slow in getting my day going. I am thinking about all of the people-dead because of a senseless act."

Soon enough I would hear about the terrorists, the heroes of flight 93 and the loved ones left behind. I would begin to pray more fervently than I had in previous days, and speak kindly to the lady ringing up my groceries at Smith's. For almost two weeks, no one would cut me off in traffic and I would think twice about doing the same to someone else.

Nine days following the attack, I recorded, "In the midst of war, it is difficult to see adversity as anything but terrible and life-consuming. But because it is also an opening of the soul, we can look at ourselves, and perhaps for the first time in months or years, discover where we have lacked, where we have forgotten. We [can] begin to see anew what is truly important in life. It isn't the stuff, or our jobs, or the business of the day-it is each other."

Here's to never forgetting.



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