It’s Tuesday, 5:45am. I have an hour to get to work.
My husband leaves for work much earlier than I, and even though I could get ready in thirty-minutes, I tend to piddle and dilly dally, taking almost 1 ½ hours to get ready.
I’m watching the Today show. Something has happened in New York. I think a small commuter plane hit one of the Trade Towers. It looks bad. Then I see a plane cross the scene behind them.
I think, “wow that’s weird… that’s a big plane.”
No sooner did these thoughts finish through my brain… and it happened.
I watched live, as the tower exploded into smoke and flames behind the newscasters.
Live. I saw it live.
I ran to the phone to call my husband. I was breathless. This was big news.
I had no idea how big.
The day unraveled.
For the rest of the day at work my husband and I pulled televisions into the conference room and throughout the office. All the radios were set to news-reporting stations.
That day we hardly completed any work. None of the staff did. The phones were quiet. The fax rarely provided orders. We watched our lives change.
For the next three days we fixed our lives to the news. I couldn’t stop myself. I streamed MSNBC on my office computer. At home, I stayed up late to watch every unfolding event. I was in overload. And an odd feeling of patriotism was rising up from my stomach.
I had never felt prouder to be American. I had never felt such a stirring in my soul to do something.
Because I felt like, in my home, watching the news, was doing nothing. I wanted to show my pride that the USA was still standing. We would be firm and unshaken.
I began to see the flags sprout up around town. Our neighborhood was looking like preparations for a Fourth of July parade.
The Saturday following the 11th’s event, my husband and I got up early to drive to the flag store. We both wanted to fly one in the front yard. It seemed the least we could do, and proceeds were going to help the recovery efforts of the prior Tuesday’s events.
We both sat silent while my husband drove. Down the freeway I listened to Train sing “Drops of Jupiter” on the radio.
“…Told a story about a man who is too afraid to fly so he never did land, Tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet, Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day, And head back to the milky way…”
Suddenly something about those words, the media overload of the week, the feeling of patriotism I’d never known—it grew a lump in my throat so hard and painful. I felt it through my body, into my fingertips, and my eyes welled up with tears.
I quickly looked away out my window. I didn’t understand the rush of emotions, and I felt foolish.
My husband asked me a question. I couldn’t answer. I was a dam about to burst. The hottest of tears graced my cheeks and I turned to him. He smiled with concern and said, “It’s getting to you, huh? …..me too.”
I nodded and squeaked a “uh-huh.” The tears began to flow; I sniffed and silently cried all the way to the store. I just wanted that dang flag—I had had enough. I was sad and angry and concerned and I didn’t know when we all would be okay again. I didn’t know where this was taking things. It was just another Tuesday…but it was a Tuesday I’d never forget. I had taken my land, my freedom, my country, my American pride for granted. I just wanted to get back to “okay.”
Well, we all changed from that Tuesday. But in many ways, I guess we did get back to okay. We hung our flags, and eventually they came down. We got on with life, the rubble was cleared, the stories emerged. Documentaries, one after the other appeared. We even got a little more numb to that horrendous Tuesday—that day I watched live events turn my stomach and quicken my pulse.
I got numb-er.
Maybe it is better to still feel the anger or sadness. It was a very wrong thing. And while some of us got on with life—there are those forever affected. Those that lost loved ones. They relive Tuesday every time they miss their special someone.
This Sunday, may we remember with them. Remember Tuesday. Remember the everyday people, the children, the pilots, firefighters, police, daughters, sons, wives and husbands, moms and dads. The everyday heroes. May we show our love and concern. And if the hot tears come, let them show without shame.
May we feel pride in coming ten years, a phoenix from the ashes.
If you live in my area—there are two amazing memorial services planned at RHCC on Sunday September 11th. One at 9:30am and the other at 11:00am. If you can, come out and pay tribute, you will forever be glad you joined in this special event. If you’re not in my neck of the woods – check around, almost every church is providing some type of memorial you won’t want to miss.