Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you

Where were you. . . .
…on 9/11? Well, we were all somewhere, weren’t we? I happened to be home with my husband. He was watching tv; I was messing around somewhere in the house when he called, “An airplane hit the World Trade Center.” My mind immediately pictured some little private plane, off course, pilot drunk or something. “Really? Huh.” A few minutes later, “Another plane hit the other one!” “What!?!” We all know what happened after that. We all dealt with it individually and collectively. I didn’t know anyone in the towers, on the planes, in the Pentagon, but I have this blessing/curse of enormous empathy. Emotionally, I was the wife or mother receiving or making the last phone call. I was the terrified person wondering which way to turn and unable to see. I was sitting, terrified, on that plane. I was numb. While others called family and friends to talk, I couldn’t speak. I sat on that couch watching the horror over and over: feeling the heat, choking on the smoke, paralyzed by the terror. I stood on the steps of Congress singing “God Bless America.” At some point, I hung our flag outside. I was the first on the block. I was glad that George Bush was the President because he said the right things at the time. He really did. Because as the numbness passed, it was replaced by anger. I wanted to kill someone; I wanted them to “bring it on”.
This is not the place to dwell on the wrong roads taken from the righteous anger we felt. But if we could all back up, rewind, recapture the feeling of unity and shared purpose maybe we could find a scrap of ideological common ground somewhere in this vast country that we all profess to love.
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