Over the last year I have had the privilege of reading and hearing a lot of people tell their 9/11 stories. It’s always interesting and moving to read the stories from that day. These stories have changed the world. Here is mine:
It was the 2nd day of my 2nd week back to real life. I had lost my mom unexpectedly on the 25th of August. I took that first week off after she died to help plan her funeral and greet the hundreds of people who came to offer support to my family. After a quiet Labor Day weekend it was time to get back to life. I had 2 jobs and a full class load at college waiting for me.
When we were little and all through high school, when ever we were complaining that we didn’t feel good, my mom had always said to us, “get up and get moving and you’ll feel better.” Much to our dismay, she was almost always right. On that Tuesday morning I was just repeating that in my head over and over. Get up. Get moving. You’ll feel better. Getting up wasn’t all that difficult to do since I hadn’t been sleeping well anyways. I had been up to see my dad off to work at 5:30 and had taken the longest shower of my life. I didn’t have to be to class until 8, so when I was ready to go at 6:30 (I was in Colorado, so it was 8:30 EST) I sat down to watch the Today show because my mom had always watched Today when she was getting ready in the morning.
And there, behind the heads of Matt Lauer and Katie Couric I watched the entire world break apart. It felt like watching a movie. It couldn’t be real. What in the hell was going on? The minute I showed up to class that morning, they had us all stuck to the television. Right up until the time they sent us away. With zero answers and so much fear, they sent us home. And then my night job decided to close early as well. With what was left of my family, I sat glued to the TV, unable to turn away. One more horrifying chapter to add to the story of my life. Only this time it was so much worse. And we didn’t have mom there holding our hands or making us mac & cheese as we all cried during the nonstop footage we just couldn’t seem to turn away from.
Why had this happened? We weren’t even allowed time to recover from one tragedy before we were faced with yet another. And while the events of 9/11 were an absolute nightmare, they served as a distraction from the nightmare we were already living.
I was lucky enough not to have lost anyone that day. So many people were not. I really felt for them, though. For the first time during a tragedy, I actually knew what it was like to feel such a devastating loss. As those buildings crumbled to the ground, so did the last of all that was right with the world.
In the days after, when it was time again to try to get back to our regularly scheduled lives, my sister and I talked about the overwhelming numbness and fear that we felt. Like nothing would ever be right with the world again. It was too much at once and we had a pretty hard time dealing.
Eleven years later, despite all of the tragedy, life has gone on.
I have met and married a Navy man who served on board a ship sitting below the Brooklyn Bridge, that on that day was forced to threaten to shoot down planes daring to cross them.
Since that day I have seen one sister join the Army and one join the Navy. I have seen them off on one military deployment after another. But we have all survived. And we have all built new lives for ourselves. We have all moved on. But we all still remember.I am sure the entire country has done that with us.
As we move on, and build our lives, we take time today to remember all of those who were taken from us on that tragic day. God bless us every one.
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
― Rose Kennedy
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