This year, 9/11 snuck up on me. I knew it was numerically approaching on the calendar, but the importance of the day was buried in my consciousness. I thought maybe that meant it would be an easier day to deal with. After all, I know my experience was nothing compared to those who lost loved ones, who walk past Ground Zero every day, whose lives changed in more physical ways with an empty seat at the dinner table. But there it was, ABC breaking into their own programming with a Special Report at the time the first plane hit and before I knew the reason for the interruption, I immediately sat on the coffee table thinking “not again.” Of course the interruption was to focus on the memorials and a moment of silence.
On the way to music class, a far cry from where I was seven years ago – gathering my tapes and notes to meet my crew to tape an interview on the Hill for an upcoming health campaign, I passed several flags at half-staff and the yearly lump came back. I’ve already yelled at the hubby over nothing and know my short fuse has to do with the fact that all my energy is spent trying to hold in the fear, the tears, the sadness.
Below is what I wrote last year. The only difference is today I sang silly songs with my 25 month old, danced like a fool and got a joyful squeeze for it at the end of class. While I remember those we lost on 9/11, I will also remember how lucky I am to realize how lucky I am and give both of my boys an extra hug and kiss tonight.
It’s hard to know what to write today. I have honestly started this post several times and nothing feels quite right. I could write about what it felt like in Washington, DC that day. How the sky was so blue, how we gathered around the television sets in our offices confused about what was happening in NY, how everything suddenly changed when we realized the Pentagon had been hit, how quiet the bumper-to-bumper traffic was leaving the city – no horns, no cutting people off, just thousands of cars with their windows rolled down all listening to WTOP and watching the huge black plume pour from the Pentagon into the sky over the Potomac – how we cringed at the sound of every military plane overhead when we knew one of the flights was still unaccounted for, how we will always consider the passengers on United Flight 93 heroes because we knew that flight was coming to DC, how quiet the streets and the airports were, how we gathered in churches.
I could write about how our world changed, how fear came home. Or I could write about how, slowly but surely, our lives did get back to normal and it seems surreal that it’s been six years.
But I’d much rather write about how there was joy this 9/11 anniversary morning, how I was tickling my 13 month old peanut on our bed listening to his belly laugh and relishing in his four-tooth grin, how we snuggled under a blanket to read a story before his morning nap, how he giggled when we got to a page with frogs on it.
So today, under a similarly clear, blue sky, I remember those who sacrificed their lives in NY, DC, Pennsylvania and subsequently in Afghanistan and Iraq. You are not forgotten. You are present in the safety we no longer take for granted, you are present in the joy we are privileged enough to experience on these anniversaries, and you are present in our prayers. We remember.