I wasn’t going to do it; I wasn’t going to blog on 9/11. Sure, I’d lived through it, frighteningly close to it here in West-Central PA; but I didn’t feel I had a right. And while I remember my mom saying that one of my distant relatives was in the towers; I still felt that my words would have sounded shallow or hollow or that someone would say I had no real, no tangible attachment to the horrible events that happened that beautiful Tuesday morning.
So I kept my silence and I remembered. I was carrying our last child, our daughter, who was a great source of joy for my husband and me. We’d worked hard for her and in a month she was going to make her great debut; something that we’ve delighted in every since. She was the icing on our cake of happiness and all was right with the world as I got ready for work.
By God’s Grace, I am able to still delight in my family. Far too many others kissed their spouses, their children, their loved ones that Tuesday morning and never saw them again. Far too many left for work much as I did with hope and joy and great expectations only to find horror and hate and destruction that we American’s had not witnessed on our lands since the Civil War. I mourn for them.
I think of all the last frantic telephone calls sent out from the towers, the Pentagon and that plane whizzing above me at 30,000 feet. How the recipients of those message have never deleted them from their answering machines and voice mails. It was the last time they heard a voice they cherished; the last time they heard the words “I love you”. I mourn for them.
When our office got news that a plane went down in either Somerset or Bedford Counties; I panicked. My husband worked in Bedford County for a sizeable company that could have very well been a target. I tried over and over to get him on the phone only to hear the irritating buzz of a busy signal. It was a fear I would never want to feel again. Even now, with him securely beside me, I feel a shudder through my body that makes me ache. I can only add my tears to those who were not as lucky as I am. I mourn for them.
In the hours and days that passed, it seemed our entire country united and suddenly we just weren’t saddened or terrified; we were determined. We knew we would overcome this insult; this horrible, horrible insult to our country and its citizens. We became one. We were battered and our cheeks were streaked in tears, but we would not be beaten. I became one of the mourners.
One of the partners in my firm told us all to go home to our families. We slowly shut down our computers and turned off the lights to head to the safety of our homes. I remember heading up the highway only to see a man standing on a bridge overpass waiving an American Flag. He was there alone, but he stood for all of us. Tears ran down my face as I saluted him with a horn blast. He was there for all of us on that highway that Tuesday and we became brothers. We are all mourners.
In the years since 9/11, I’ve thought of that day often and am always struck by the beauty of the day. The sky had not been bluer, the day more crisp, and my mood lighter. What a simpler time when those towers stood tall, the Pentagon not marred and a stretch of ground not scorched from fire and death. How it all changed in such a small span of time. How we have all changed. I mourn for the America that once was.
God bless America. We will certainly never forget.