C J Remembers September 11, 2001
Today is Patriot’s Day
It seems like it was only yesterday…the tragic day that unfolded for the entire world to watch, in utter disbelief, in unimaginable horror…
We had just returned from a perfect late summer weekend on the river, on Monday, Sept. 10.
SO on Tuesday, a bright and clear high desert day, as we were preparing for work and doing our morning things around the house…I snapped on the television to get an idea of what the weather was going to bring…it felt pretty warm and humid to me and it was only 6’ish! I was sweating and we ladies don’t keep curls for long with sweaty, steamy weather. I saw a building burning…I thought perhaps I was looking at something happening in the Middle East, or Beirut, or in another country…after all I barely glanced at the picture as I quickly made my way back to the vanity in the adjoining bathroom. But then, it got my attention…I was only half-focused on what was being said, then I heard “NEW YORK” and I dropped the curling iron and raced back to see the t.v.
THEN…I screamed for my man, who was in the other end of the house somewhere.
We stood, stunned and dumbfounded. We numbly made our way to our workplace (same employer)and the t.v. was on at work as well. I turned the radio on inside my prep room, where oddly, I was pretty much caught up with my cases. Which was good and bad…good because I wanted to go back to the office to watch the news to learn more…bad because I learned those buildings were gone, and countless millions of terrified people were in the streets of NYC, desperately running for their lives in their mass exodus out of Manhattan. Bad because I had nothing to keep me grounded and my mind focused on ‘other’ details related to my work…bad turned to awful—I felt physically ill and my gut whirled around as my brain tried to make sense of it all, and I was unable to leave early after taking the extended weekend…bad because there were two MORE locations, planes full of innocent people…bad because suddenly I felt vulnerable…almost in fear for my own life. Naked and afraid.
…I felt small and helpless as I sat on the porch step smoking a cigarette, outside the office. I noticed about mid-afternoon, California time, the sky had taken on a quasi-overcast look, and I vividly recall the clouds tinged in orangey-pinkish hues…like the sky gets when there is a wildfire burning nearby. No one spoke, that day, at work. It was just a bizarre, nightmare of an awful day, September 11th, 2001.
Finally, 5 p.m. came. I desperately wanted to get home. That’s when the magnitude of the day’s events hit like a tsunami.
From the safety and security of our home, he and I sat and watched the awful footage and the non-stop, every-channel coverage late into the night. We cried. We barely ate any supper. We cried some more. We watched late into the night, lay in our bed holding each other tightly as we tried to get a little sleep.
We offered up our support to a death-care group that consisted of people from our profession, and various grief counselors, recovery teams, and other services’ personnel who attended disasters of all kinds around the country. We were thanked but they had enough people, much closer to that disaster of all disasters…so, by day, we numbly performed our duties, and in the evening, we sat, glued to the tube, learning more every hour of the evil people who carried out the evil deeds of the 11th…and we wept.
By the third evening, we just HAD to turn it O-F-F. It had created such a distressful overload watching the loops of dramatic footage and the heartbreaking ‘man-on-the-street’ interviews of people searching for missing husbands, wives, children, parents, firefighters, and missing office workers. Our hearts and minds could not handle anymore.
As I think about that ‘overload’ I must believe that is nature’s way of protecting us from the despair and heartbreaking helplessness we begin to find ourselves moving toward…but also protecting us against becoming desensitized to the essential shock and awful human suffering and pain that day’s events delivered.
We must never forget that day.
To this very day, those images and the remembrances of our nation’s worst domestic act of terrorism and mass-murdering of civilians, bring tears of anger, tears of sorrow, and tears of pride, too. And then I thank my Heavenly Father, yet again, as I do daily, for those men and women in our armed forces…those who give so much of themselves and sacrifice so much, here and abroad, to keep America free from the evil that shook the entire world on September 11, 2001.
And, I would imagine, that you do too. Another thought that comes to mind:
’…and Jesus wept.’
GOD BLESS AMERICA.
©2013, C.S. Thompson.
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