My 9/11 TributePosted: September 11, 2011
I was heartbroken before 9/11. My marriage fell apart the month before. I was living in San Diego, which of course is three hours behind East Coast time. So on the morning of Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, I was pouring coffee when the phone rang. My routine is to get a cup of coffee or tea and head to the PC, that’s how I start my day. When I answered the phone, it was my older brother, who was quite upset. I remember asking, “What’s the matter?” to which he screamed, “We’re being attacked!” I looked out the kitchen window of my beautiful golf course home in rural NE San Diego county and everything looked serene, like always. So I naïvely replied, “No we’re not; calm down.” Finally he said, “Turn on the TV!” Then it became crystal clear.
So I watched CNN for three days, crying. It was a combination of disbelief, shock and powerlessness. There was nothing I could do to change it. All I could do was cry. For the families of the World Trade Center, life completely changed within a matter of minutes. That happened to me three times in the two years leading up to 9/11; I knew how it felt.
My brother who called started out at NYU. He actually worked in the WTC for a while. So he drove down from Rochester a few days later to see it himself. He described it as a war zone. Even though it was emergency personnel only, he got in and talked to people. He spent the weekend and when he called me the next week, he said, “You could feel the souls of all the people still there. It was so quiet and sacred; even amidst the chaos and rubble.” He also mentioned the terrible stench, which we’ve later found out was toxic and has taken the lives of some of the first responders.
Fast forward to 2009: In a Publix grocery store line I read the December 2009 Time Magazine headline “The Decade from Hell” and burst out laughing; loudly. As Joni sang, “laughing & crying; it’s the same release.” The guy in front of me turned around and asked, “What are you laughing about?” and I just pointed to the magazine. He said, “Oh, it’s really not been that bad except the past couple of years.” I looked at him and said, “Seriously? 9/11, the tsunami, Katrina, the economic collapse? I’ve already called it the ‘Decade from Hell’ myself! Combine all of that with any personal losses and it truly has been.” Bought the magazine just to read that article; wanted to see their take on it because I already knew mine.
Everyone knows the cliché, “Time heals all wounds.” Time does heal, but there are some wounds that never totally heal. This really hit home the Sunday night Twitter announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. To say the Twitterverse was jubilant is an understatement; but it was the rush and outpouring of emotion that made me realize how strongly people still felt. Yes, time had passed. Yes, we’ve all moved on. But that night on Twitter made me realize just how deep the wound truly goes.
In the buildup to the 10th anniversary this week I saw a headline, “Reliving 9/11.” Personally, I have no desire to relive it! I want to pay tribute. When I prayed for the souls lost this a.m., I prayed not only for the 3,000 lost 9/11/01, which included people from all over the world, but for all the souls lost since then because of that day. That number is quite astounding; depending on the source it’s anywhere from 100,000 to one million plus. http://antiwar.com/casualties/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War Between Iraq and Afghanistan it’s completely possible it’s one million plus when you add in civilian casualties; an unbelievable number of lives lost because of four planes. But it’s not just the dead. This year on Oprah I saw a mother whose only child died in the war; he was young. They filmed her going to his grave in Arlington and reading his favorite childhood book to him, which she did often. The woman’s grief was palpable. She clearly had not healed. I was crying and said out loud to the TV, “Start a group for people who’ve lost their kids! Go read to real, living children who could benefit! Don’t just sit there! He doesn’t want you sitting there crying at his grave!” So when you factor in all the loved ones around the world who’ve mourned those who’ve lost their lives, it’s definitely in the millions.
What do you think the souls who’ve passed would say to U.S. if they could? Here’s what I think they’d say: Never forget, but forgive. Stay Strong. Please stop fighting. Please do not hate an entire group of people because of a few. Please stop fighting among yourselves and work to make America better. Do not take life for granted. I love you. Never Give Up!
May all the souls who perished 9/11/01, and since then in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of 9/11, rest in peace! ❤