Lest We Forget . . .

I live twenty miles north of Manhattan. I remember every detail of September 11, 2001 as if it were yesterday. I remember looking up at the sky as I walked back up the path from my sons' school. Trevor was in kindergarten and Connor was in third grade. I was seven months pregnant with Brendan. The sky was a brilliant shade of blue. There was not a cloud to be seen ~ a perfect September day.

I made something for breakfast and turned on the television. I don't normally watch television during the day but was in the mood for some "Regis and Kelly." Instead there was a special news report saying that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. I sat on the stairs leading to the second floor of my house and stared at the screen. It never once entered my mind that it had anything to do with "terrorists.". That's just not anything I ever thought about. That only happened in "other" countries.

As I continued to watch, there was an image of a plane banking and hitting the tower. It was video that someone had taken when the plane hit, wasn't it? Of course it was. There was no way that could happen again. What do you mean another plane hit? How is that possible? Again, it never entered my mind that we were under attack. My friend's husband calling her from his police precinct in the city, telling her to take the kids out of school is what jarred me into reality. It was like a bad dream.

I walked back to the school and into the office to sign the boys out. I was not the first parent to do so. With a sense of urgency and a smile on my face, I took each son out of class without a hint of why. The look in the eyes of all the "grown ups" said it all.

I had heard in the office that a tower had crumbled to the ground. Then, when I arrived home with the boys, the other one did the same. That nite, as my husband was working what was to be his first of three days straight, we sat around the dining room table with close friends and ate pizza as a fighter jet flew over our house. Calls began to come in with names of friends and members of our community that were among the missing. Some called home. Others did not. I remember my husband pointing out cars that were still in commuter parking lots late at nite and wondering who they belonged to. I remember that we didn't hear a train whistle thru our open windows for days after 9/11. I remember the sound of crickets bothering me because it reminded me of the chirping sound that was heard from the air tanks of the firefighters who were no longer breathing. Low flying planes still make my heart skip a beat sometimes. There will always be a "before 9/11" and a "after 9/11."

On that gorgeous September day, our community lost mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. We lost coaches, volunteers, life partners, friends and loved ones. We lost our innocence.

There is so much more I could write about that day and the many days and months following. Instead I will finish with a poem that I cut out of our local newspaper a few weeks after 9/11/01 and still have on my refrigerator. It describes perfectly the feelings in our heart, as New Yorkers and as Americans, the days following the terrorist attacks.

Changed . . .

Everything has changed . . .

Suddenly the color of my car and the size of my house don't matter.

The brand of the clothes on my back is unimportant and the size of

my bank account is trivial.

Smiles and laughter have been replaced by tears and sorrow for all

that was and will never be again.

Everything has changed . . .

I hold my family much closer now not knowing if I will have the

chance to hold them again or tell them how much I love them.

I hold my freedom dearer now for all its unappreciated and

ignored gifts.

I hold my God closer than ever before, knowing that without

our prayers and His grace we will not endure.

Everything has changed . . .

My sense of security is shaken, my sense of vulnerability increased

and my sense of grief overwhelming.

I cannot sleep, it is hard to eat and the everyday toils seem of

minor concern.

Everything has changed . . .

I look around and see death and destruction fueled by hate, surrounded

by an eerily calm blue sky.

I worry about the future. I think about the past and pray that I can get

through another day, changed forever.

~ Author Unknown

One day at a time, we have gone on since September 11th, 2001 and I believe we are a stronger nation and people because of it. May God bless our country, the members of our military force, all of our people here and abroad and those that still struggle with their losses of that day.

Lest we forget.

Many blessings ~ Wendy


Connie said...

I cried and cried that day but have since come to the fact that the only thing I take with me from this earth is my family, sugar. That is truly the only thing that matters to me. Those men will absolutely have a special place in heaven for their heroism. The greatest thing we can do is lay down our lives for our fellow man.

Kelly said...

May God bless the whole wide world, today and always. May we all see that terror and war never win.

Cindy said...

Thoughtful, wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

Merci-Notes said...

Thank You for remembering.

My daughter and I saw the first tower fall...

I found out two years later that my brother did plan for us to be there, at the Trade Center, that morning...

Trust when God is talking to you.

God Bless You and all of your loved ones,

carla said...

What a powerful post. Thank you for sharing it.