Sunday, September 11, 2011


I was just coming out of class, going to my locker to meet my boyfriend, Brock, just like we did every other morning.  For some reason, I can't remember what class I was in, but Brock was in his home ec. class, clear down the hall from my locker.  I remember that this morning, he walked faster than usual, and his face was far more serious than usual.  He told me what had happened, and together, we went to the library in time to watch the second plane hit the South Tower.  I was a junior in high school.  

I remember sitting in my driveway after school, my friends Brooke, Amity, and Stacia sitting in the car for a long time, crying and trying to make sense of what had happened in our country.  I remember thinking the world was ending, and if it didn't, we wondered what it would look like in our future.

I remember being glued to the TV for the rest of the night, watching desperate wives, brothers, friends, and neighbors fight to get in front of one of the hundreds of cameras, only to hold up a picture of their missing loved one, their desperate pleas of anguish filling the screen.  I remember the image of the brave firefighters fighting to climb up the narrow stairwells of the World Trade Centers, while everyone else fought like hell to get down.  I remember Mom crying on the phone with Grandma, and I remember wanting Dad to get home from work so bad.  I remember feeling scared, and remember wanting everyone home where it was safe.  

I remember the day of and days after, repeatedly imagining myself in the shoes of the thousands of people impacted in New York.  Picturing being on one of the planes, or on the other end of a phone call saying goodbye to a loved one forever.  Picturing being President Bush or Mayor Guiliani, or one of the firefighters, or one of the firefighter's wives.  I remember sitting on the edge of the couch, my heart breaking for the women who lost the fathers of their unborn children, for the babies who would never know their daddies.  I remember reading 'Let's Roll,' a memoir by Lisa Beamer, recounting the heroic efforst of her husband on Flight 93, and wishing so bad he would have been on any other flight but that one.  And I remember wondering how I would someday explain the events of this day to my own children, wondering how our world would even look by then.  


Today, we planted a flag for the 2985 people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.  Although Cruz is much too little to know what the field of flags symbolized on UNI's campus today, someday he will.  Days like this help us all remember, not only the lives lost that day, but the lives that continue to hurt today.  On Dateline the other night, Tom Brokaw interviewed eight firefighters who were trapped, but rescued in the days following 9/11.  When asked how they felt ten years later, one of the firefighters kept repeating that he didn't want anyone 'to forget.'  We can't forget what shapes us, what molds us into the people we are today.  It's the happy and the sad, the wins and the losses, and the hills and the valleys.  And just because life does keep going, even when we don't want it to, doesn't mean we have to forget those moments that mold us into the people we are forever. 

So today, we remember.  We not only remember September 11, but all the moments that define us.  Where we've been, and how far we've come.  And most of all, we hope.  Hope for days filled with much happiness ahead, and a world full of blessings for our babies.   


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