Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

I will never forget the phone call.  Ten years ago I was a college freshman and about to leave for class.  My mother called me and told me not to go.  A plane had hit the World Trade Center.  I turned on the news, sunk onto my bed and from my small dorm room I watched the world change.

I watched the towers fall.

I watched lives end.

My thoughts immediately flew to my dad who traveled often for work.  I dialed his number, praying I would get through.  He answered and we talked.  I could hear the shock, the sadness, the change in life as we know it in his voice.

I was glued to the t.v for hours.  Sirens broke out on campus and fear overtook me.  I looked out my tiny window and I waited.  Was this the end?  Was my campus next?  Were other places under attack right now?

I thought about the people on the planes.  I still think about them.  Not just on the anniversary, but often.  At random times.  What was it like for them knowing they were about to die?  Were they able to say goodbye to loved ones? Did they cling to strangers for comfort?

I think about the people in the towers.  Those who ran.  Those who jumped.

I think about the first responders.  Those who went into the towers, who lost their lives trying to save others.

I think about those brave men and women who fought back, who in the last moments of their lives, saved others by altering the course of their plane.  A plane that crashed into a field instead of its intended target.

I think about those still suffering today.  Those whom, every time they take a breath, are reminded of that day.

I think about those who lost loved ones.  Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends.

I've talked to people who were there that day.  Who waited for cell phone reception to find out if their loved ones were safe.  To find out how deeply their lives would be altered.

I've heard of those who overslept, missed their flight, were running late to work. Those who were saved.

I've heard of those who were on stand-by, those who were able to get on one of those ill-fated flights.  Those who were lost.

These good fortunes for some and accidents for others turned out to be the difference between life and death.  This fact gives me chills, makes my stomach hurt, makes me wonder, every time I get on a plane, which category I will fall into.

I'm remember that day so clearly.  The emotions I felt.  The changes in our reality as I realized our world would never be the same.  I remember wondering if it was okay to laugh, to go class, enjoy time with friends, cheer at football games, to put one foot in front of the other and move forward.  And I remember feeling that I had to, that we all had to, or else "they" had taken the lives of us all.

And so I moved forward.

But I think of those who died, of those who grieve, and of those who fight to defend our great nation, and I will never forget.

15 comments:

  1. Big hugs, SG. Thank you for recounting your inner self.

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  2. This is one of the best 'remembering 9/11' posts I have read. Thanks so much for putting yourself so out there for us. I, too, have similar thoughts at random moments. And I, too, wondered about moving forward. At many moments of loss in my life, I have found that diving into my fear/grief for a bit and allowing myself to feel it deeply helps me to find the hope and power to move forward, to remember not just the sadness of tragedy but also the hope and joy that is LIFE. And we are so blessed to be amongst the living. Wishing you a beautiful day today :)

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  3. I can imagine how being on a university campus would feel a little extra scary. We had no idea where else might be a target, and colleges could have been.

    I love that you wrote this. Love you!

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  4. Great post! Thank you for sharing!

    Thank you for stopping by and following me. Sorry it took so long to return the favor but I couldn't link thru your avatar - found you by googling you. I clicked to follow you - my pic popped at the top but not in your group of followers. If it doesn't appear in your block of followers, please stop by and leave a note; I'll click over. Thanks!

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  5. Great post. I cannot imagine being in a large university at during 9/11, I think that I would have been shaken a little extra. Not knowing if and where the next target may be.

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  6. Hey you, this is really well written. It was a day that changed us all.
    Jenn

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  7. Amazing post. Really. You've very eloquently said the truth. I just watched a CBS special about the firefighters, and my mind is reeling. I can't stop thinking about it, turning it over in my head, reliving it with them, wanting to save them all, tell them what's going to happen, and wanting to hug them all, tell them thank you, that even though I wasn't there to save, my spirit was saved through their bravery. Powerful. And you've said it so well.

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  8. --Nobody shall forget that day when Hell arrived. Chilling-- even after 10 years....

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  9. Great post and painful memories. I remember thinking it was a hoax. I could not believe it ... like someone had photoshopped TV. I was home with my son who was barely 9 months old at the time. I realized just how helpless I was home alone with an infant. I was glad to be in rural GA at the time.

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  10. Well said. Moving forward is just as important as never forgetting.

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  11. I could still remember how I felt that day as clearly as it was yesterday. A lot of what you said here resonated with what I felt... It's an experience I hope would never be repeated.

    I lost a friend that day. He was on board of the second plane that crashed into the tower. I went to his house to offer my condolences to his parents the day after. His mother was nowhere to be seen, because she couldn't stop crying in her bedroom.

    I could relate to how you feel, about feeling a bit of guilt over moving on. I thought of my friend's parents, his girlfriend, his siblings, and I wondered how it felt for them having to go through September 11th every year. I agree with you, that despite what happened we must move on forward, because we owed it to those whose lives were taken that day, to learn from their experience, to appreciate what we have now, to be resilient and to rise above the ashes with our humanity and capability to love still in tact.

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  12. This was the most poignant post I've read about the anniversary. Thank you for recounting so specifically your thoughts and emotions... I shared so many of them. Probably most of us do.

    Thank you for honoring those we lost... you did it well.

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  13. It's true the memory of 9/11 comes to mind at random times. For me, it is when the sky is quiet. For me, it was so eiree when there were no noise of plans flying over NJ for several days. 9/11 was such a horrbile event to experience. It is something we all have to live with and it is important that we Never Forget but it is so sad and difficult.

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  14. I tried not to read any of these posts because I don't have trouble remembering either. But I'm glad I accidentally read this...it was very touching.

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