Remembering 9/11

Ten years ago, everyone remembers exactly where they were standing. I can remember how I watched the towers fall. I remember what I thought and how I felt. Through a shroud of tears, I watched the chaos on a tiny kitchen television.

Today was a bright and warm September day much like 9/11/2001.

Like many others, I got sucked into the television programming around the largest act of terrorism our country has ever endured. I spent hours listening to stories, some triumphant with a near miss and others heavy with the reality of death. I had a friend over, he said he needed “a break,” he told me that watching too much of these programs would be damaging–that they were just too sad to sit through. With a snotty, wet face I disagreed. These people were there, they lived it. They heard that last phone call from their husband or sister, they watched a building brought to its knees. Those are the firefighters that went home that day knowing that their whole crew had been pulverized only hours before. Is it sad? I think to fully give it the magnitude it needs, you have to recalibrate your meaning of “sad.” I don’t know if there is a word for what happened that day.

I say, if these people can live through it, if they can pick up the pieces and try to live some semblance of life–then I can sit through their stories. I feel like I owe it to them. I feel like the absolute and very least that I can do would be to listen, to spend a few hours of my undivided attention to hear what they lived through.


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