Today we stop and remember the horror of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a solitary Pennsylvania field. Not since the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor, which ushered in the US involvement in WWII, has the country been so rallied together, so pro-USA. So united in tragedy.
I had just walked my daughters to their grade school, when I heard about the first plane hitting the WTC building. I thought it was bullshit, that there was no way a plane would just fly into a skyscraper like that. Parents were huddled around, talking about it, horrified. I walked home and put the tv on, only to find out how real it was. I found out later from my girls that every classroom watched the horror unfold on television sets wheeled into the classrooms. I, myself, could not stop watching. I was off work that day, as I arranged to be off in order to see my first Jimmy Buffett show in Tinley Park, IL. That show, of course, did not happen. The news anchors were trying to hold it together amidst the chaos — they must have been bombarded every few seconds by reports from reporters out in the field. I could not fathom what life was like for NY city residents at that time.
There were so many heroes, though — fire fighters, police officers, EMT’s, and normal everyday citizens, helping each other, comforting each other, and trying to live through it all. Then later, after the towers had fallen and the recovery efforts began, how the country and the world at large offered help, sent fire fighters and police officers, and others, to help find survivors. And let’s not forget the search-and-rescue dogs who valiantly searched for people that were not their own.
Yes, Pearl Harbor was as horrific, but we didn’t watch it happen in real-time. We didn’t see the ships burning and exploding. We didn’t see men soaked in oil and fuel, burning, jumping into the ocean to stop the flames. We didn’t see the dead and dying, in living color, as events were happening. We didn’t see the heroes of the day either, men who performed selfless deeds of which they and God are the only ones who know. The days of instant news, instant communication, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram …. when events happen, we see it RIGHT NOW, as it’s happening. How wonderful, but how horrible, too.
My heart is heavy today, in remembrance of those who lost their lives 15 years ago. Always remember, never forget.