There have been so many conversations this past week, and today, discussing "where were you ten years ago?"
Where were you ten years ago? Do you remember?
What were you doing that morning? Do you remember?
How did you find out? Do you remember?
Do you remember?
Do I remember? How could I ever forget?
September of 2001, was one of two Septembers in my life when I was not in a classroom, either as a student or as a teacher. I was working as the Director of Christian Education at a church. I lived alone--no children, no cats, just me.
I remember getting up, going through the morning routine to get ready for work, and wanting to catch the last few minutes of the news, just so I could hear the weather forecast for the day. I grabbed the clicker and turned on the TV in my room, tossed it back on the bed, and picked up the earrings I wanted to wear that day. I turned around to see an airplane flying into a tall building. Honestly, I thought I was watching a preview for a movie until I heard the voices of the news anchors (Today Show? Good Morning, America? I don't remember) and the sickening reality of what I was really seeing settled in.
It was horrifying.
Those images from that morning are seared in my memory for ever.
And I remember needing to talk to my family. We were spread out then, just as we are today, but I needed to know everyone was ok. And I remember how awful it felt to be alone.
And then I remember driving to work. The major artery into town that I drove every day, usually in bumper to bumper, end of the morning drive traffic, was completely empty. I don't remember seeing any other cars on the road. And the sky? The sky was clear and blue. And empty. No planes making their final descent towards the airport.
The rest of the day is a blur. People were in and out of the church that day. We had a service that night. And another later in the week. Our collective sense of security had been shattered.
Fast forward ten years. It is September 11, 2011. I'm a momma. I'm back in an elementary school as a teacher. My family is still spread far apart--even farther today then ten years ago.
The images and memories of September 11, 2001, are still there. And I haven't been able to watch any of it. Our television has remained largely silent this week because 9-11 was everywhere.
Never forget, they say.
Never forget? How can I?
The images, the thoughts, the memories from that day are here for ever. I can't watch those news reports being played over and over again though.
My chest gets tight.
I can't breathe.
Tears sting my eyes.
The loss of so many innocent lives--all of whom were someone's precious child, brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, confidant, husband, wife, grandparent or grandchild--each and every life lost that day meant someone, somewhere, lost an important piece of his/her life.
And that is what breaks my heart. The senseless loss of so many lives.
Yet, we go on living. We have to. We live with tears and sorrow, fear and trepidation. But we also live with hope and expectation, a spirit of love and joy. We have to. It is in that living that we never forget.