Thursday, September 11, 2008

This day, seven years ago

It was here, at my desk at work, that I first heard of what was to be 9/11; one of my colleagues rushed out of her office. Her husband, watching the news at home, had just called her.

The canyons of the financial district emptied; some companies sent people home, thinking this might be the beginning of a global catastrophe. I kept a lunch date with my friend Joan; we talked about what it meant to be Americans, though we now lived in Canada. It was she who shared the grimmest details of people on the towers, and we wept into plates of Indian food.

Now that I look back, we were in shock.
On the street, I ran into a colleague from work who said, "This is inevitable. I'm from a part of the world where terrrorist attacks are not unusual. It's life, you go on." I was stunned, he sounded so blasé while I could barely absorb it.

As the stories of loss emerged, as the NY Times commemorated those who died with short profiles, as thousands of op-ed pieces and blogs examined the event, I kept thinking of his remark.

It is not usual for us, and may it never be.

6 comments:

cybill said...

That also struck me at the time, how the English and the Irish have lived with such violence amongst them for such a long time. They have those constant warnings over the PA systems about unaccompanied bags and no public rubbish bins. Its just part of the everyday psyche there. I was shocked at how shocked the Americans were, but then again, the event was so awful it was also a little beyond comprehension for me too.

La Belette Rouge said...

I cannot even turn on the TV today. My PTSD around this event is to near the skin. I remember wondering when I would stop crying and then one day it just happened I didn't cry.

~TessaScoffs said...

Um, sorry to be so picky, but wasn't it 7 years ago? My little boy turned three years old that day and although I was in tears for those who lost their lives all I could think of was "he will carry this day with him forever." And I don't think I meant it in a bad way. Sort of a badge of honor.

Duchesse said...

Tessa: That's right- seven years- and I am once again amazed at how I lost track of years flowing by. Thank you.
Cybill: Now we have those announcements too. What surprises me is to hear young people just beginning to travel talking about "safe" destinations and expressing fear about Madrid, Berlin, London etc.

Anjela said...

I can still remember the morning on the telephone with my girlfriend in London. We each watched in our respective countries, watched as we spoke.....and thought "That's such a staged movie shoot" thinking it was a movie being shot in New York. I suppose it was shock.

Next day my children and I were allowed to bring food and water to the police. It was heart wrenching but, being 40 minutes away and seeing the smoke we were driven to do something.
In the weeks that followed we went and prayed with others. New York seemed so small then. The police told how it rained shoes that day. So sad even now to think of it.
I was newly in love and happy to that moment. And yet a few months later a woman and her son came into my store. Her husband- the child's father had been killed in the towers. Many in the town lost fathers on 9/11 and her son had always wanted his ear pierced. Their entire life had changed what was frowned upon was suddenly acceptable. His father had promised him he could have his ear pierced. I got goosebumps watching him have it done as it was such a sad time. His mother had had a tattoo- Both trying to cope with the pain with pain. I still remember them and see them from time to time. He has gone to university and she has begun dating. Life goes on.
I am no longer in love.:)

Anjela said...

p.s. I should mention that
no mothers in this town, died that day.