Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Remember

I don't want to look at Photoshopped pictures of the towers that once stood now painted in the stars and stripes.

I don't want to look at the spotlights replicating the fallen towers.

And dear God, I do not ever want to look again at photographs or videos of planes crashing into skyscrapers, great, billowing plumes of smoke rising, or steel and glass collapsing.

No, I don't want to look at the twisted, mangled wreckage of the Twin Towers which has become the grave for thousands.

I remember without those images bombarding me on the Internet or the television.  Those memories are seared into my mind's eye.

I can easily enough remember the phone call from my husband telling me to turn on the t.v. and watching in stunned horror as the first tower burned and a plane crashed into the second one.  I remember it all happening in real time as I stood frozen in my living room watching it unfold, thinking it couldn't get any worse....and then the first tower fell....and then the second.

I can remember that being followed by reports of the Pentagon being hit and then reports of a missing and still unaccounted for plane somewhere over my home state of Pennsylvania.

I remember standing transfixed in my living room holding Diana's lunch in my hands because she had forgotten to take it to school and I was on my way to deliver it when my husband called.

I remember wondering if I should take her lunch or bring her home from school because I wondered if one of the two sites in our area that might be considered strategic targets were where that missing plane was headed.

I remember driving in a daze and arriving to a school office that was a flurry of frantic parents and one calm secretary who asked what I wanted to do and I told her, "I don't know."  She said the teachers were under orders to keep the televisions and radios off and proceed as normal but if I wanted to take my daughter I could since so many students have parents who work in Manhattan.  I remember forcing myself to opt for normal and leaving lunch for my daughter....then crying all the way home.

I remember picking Isaac up from kindergarten and letting him play by himself upstairs while I tried to secretly watch news reports until my watching was pierced by a bloodcurdling scream.  He had shoved a bead up his nose.

I remember trying a myriad of ways to get that bead out of his nose and finally telling him we'd have to go to the doctor.  I remember the way he clung to me and cried asking, "Will they have to cut my nose off to get the bead out?"  And I remember gently reassuring him that no such horror would befall him.  I remember being grateful that my attention was redirected to my son's needs and also envious of his innocence because,  as far as he knew, a bead up the nose was the worst thing that could happen that day...though when you are five and scared of your nose being cut off that is a pretty big deal.

I remember my husband coming home and both of us spending time trying to track down news on the whereabouts of all the friends we had who worked in or around the towers.  And I remember the deep sighs of relief upon learning each of them had escaped to safety.

I remember the days that followed when we learned about friends of friends who had not been so fortunate.  I remember being angered that Calypso's 3rd grade teacher, who I adored and respected, had passed out newspapers with pictures of the burning towers to each of her students.

I remembered how Calypso carried around her copy wherever she went for weeks because she said it was important and she needed to.  I remember forcing myself to allow her to work through her own thoughts and feelings about the event in her way, talking with her frequently about her processing of 9/11, and forcing myself NOT to take that newspaper and throw it away so she wouldn't look at it every single day. 

I couldn't stand seeing the images of the moment thousands of hearts stopped beating.  I still can't.  But I remember nonetheless.

Instead of burning buildings and massive devastation I prefer what the designer of the Ground Zero Memorial has given us, an open space cultivating calm amidst the mayhem of the city, a place for peaceful reflection and hopefully some measure of healing.




May those who lost family and friends on that day find peace and healing in their lives.  May all of us work toward peace and healing in a broken world.

18 comments:

silly rabbit said...

Amen.

Brian Miller said...

smiles. and thank you for yours...i have my own memories...pretty crazy about the bead...that def cements the day for you...and yeah i like the calm amidst the chaos...

Chickadee said...

Wow. That day hit close to home for you. Thank goodness your friends were unharmed.

I was still in school and I was driving in with the radio on when it happened. I was in disbelief and when I got to school, fear and anxiety kicked in. I left almost as soon as I reached the classroom. I stayed glued to the TV for the rest of the day, feeling horrified, sad and afraid.

Craig said...

Thanks for this, Lime. I posted my own remembrances of the day, and those immediately following, on my blog. . .

I share your reluctance (if that's what it should be called) to watch endless reruns of the images of that day. At a certain point that morning, I was overcome with the realization that I wasn't just watching 'news images', I was watching thousands of human lives being extinguished. It came to seem obscene. . .

GK Chesterton once said that, of all the doctrines of Christianity, none was more empirically obvious than the fallen-ness of human nature. If my own life weren't enough to validate his thought, the events of ten years ago serve as a remarkably poignant confirmation. . .

Craig said...

And the 'negative' statement of the memorial is poignant, and fitting, in its own right. Holes in the ground marking the footprint of the ruined towers, is a powerful statement. . .

And it still jars me a little, realizing that you had neighbors who worked in/near the towers - realizing how close you are/were, even from two states away. . .

Beach Bum said...

Great post!

All I can think of is that since the first decade of the 21st century sucked on just about all counts and that the second decade ain't looking much better it sure would be nice to have some luck come our way we can agree is good.

Moannie said...

Heart felt, beautifully written words; the words I would have liked to hear from our 'leaders'. It has been a difficult day for so many people.

snowelf said...

I also wish we didn't have the option of Never Forgetting because I wish it had never happened in the first place.
I've been to ground zero and it was very humbling.

--snow

Suldog said...

I'm still drawn by the images and stories. I think it's because it was such a horrific collection of sights that I haven't ever quite been able to totally wrap my head around the whole thing. I cry a bit, I say a prayer or two, and then I find myself in a space where I wish for something - not revenge, as many seem to have desired, but just a day when true peace might reign. I'm an idealistic sort, always have been.

I can certainly understand NOT wanting to relive it, though. Most tragedies are that way for me. I don't tend to dwell on past hurts, instead preferring to think about the good things in my/our past, but this one, for some reason, I keep returning to and probably will each year as the anniversary happens.

goatman said...

So be it.
This is the first nice shot I have seen of the memorial. I think it is beautiful and fitting, many trees -- wonder what kind they are?

Craver Vii said...

The whole thing is still so very unfathomable to my puny mind and shallow heart. I appreciate the blessing you offered at the end of your post.

Mona said...

Yea, I remember you saying all that before

secret agent woman said...

I didn't watch either and will carry the memories of the day for a life time, as we all will.

John Green said...

Great Post, Thanks for sharing... We will never forget but we must move onn nor do we want to forget.

Dave said...

Well written Michelle. My condolences to you and all Americans in the memory of that day. We shared your horror - Dave

Pearl said...

lime, you and I are in wild agreement on this one.

And the tribute? Someone I know called it a "beautiful scar", and that's kind of stuck with me.

Pearl

p.s. Really enjoy the flow of this. Well-written post.

Pearl said...

p.p.s. I would "follow" you if I could, but the ability to do so (the place I should click is blank!) rarely comes up for me!

Hilary said...

Beautifully written, Michelle.