Monday, May 2, 2011


There won't be a normal post today. There is nothing normal about today. There won't be frivolous rantings about superficial beauty products or goofy pop-culture references, because today is not a day for frivolous, goofy superficiality. Today is day for reflection.

Almost ten years ago, on a day not unlike today, the world changed. I remember that day vividly. I was twenty-one, and had recently buried my dad. The sting of that loss was not only still very sharp, but that morning, it was like someone squeezed a lemon right into my ripped open heart. Mom and I had to go to the lawyer's office to decide who would get custody of my brother if she died. Yeah, it was going to be a fantastic day.

So, there I sat in my room, putting on my makeup. Theatre buff that I am, one entire wall of my bedroom was papered with a mural of the New York skyline. Across from that wall was my mirror. To my right, on a third wall, was a television. My mom came tearing into my room, yelling for me to turn the TV on; that some moron had crashed his plane into the World Trade Center. At that time, we didn't know what was going on, and assumed it was a small private plane that had accidentally veered off course. We were wrong.

A few minutes later, the second plane hit, and we knew instantly that this was no accident. I looked in the mirror and realized that behind me, plastered onto my wall, was the World Trade Center. In front of me, in the reflection, the World Trade Center. Beside me, on the television, a twisted pile of flaming metal and glass, and desperate souls leaping from the wreckage. Surreal took on new meaning that day.

The rest of the morning's events are a bit of a blur. The ride to the law office was like a scene out of War of the Worlds, with Mom and I glued to the radio, listening to reports of the attack on the Pentagon and the downing of Flight 93. Our poor lawyer had a foster daughter working in the Pentagon, and was frantically trying to find out where she was and if she was okay. When we got home, I immediately started calling my friends in the DC area, and was on the line while one friend nervously explained that there were helicopters overhead...but no one was supposed to be flying.

We were lucky. We were all safe. I went to school.

My ballet teacher said she understood if no one felt like dancing and canceled class. The music department was scheduled to have a picnic that day, and went ahead and held it in an attempt to keep some sense of normalcy. We moved it indoors, though, and the entire cookout felt less like a party and more like a wake with better food. One of the voice teachers, a former Metropolitan Opera leading lady, sang the National Anthem. I still tear up when I think about it.

We were lucky. We were all safe. Not everyone was so lucky.

In the days to come, we'd learn of fallen comrades. Some were friends, others friends of friends. Some were strangers, but in learning about them, we felt we knew them. Some were children we'd never know. We'd learn of the heroes and guardian angels. We'd wave flags and sing anthems. The country was as united as it had ever been.

Times have changed. Nearly a decade has passed, and the unity has splintered. 9/11 has become a campaign platform. For the families of victims, though, nothing has changed. They're still waiting for loved ones who will never come home. There are still empty chairs.

I am not writing this to celebrate a death. I am writing this because I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that last night's announcement will bring some semblance of peace to these affected families. There's no such as thing as closure for something like this. It's silly to think there ever could be. All we can say to them is that the bad man can't hurt them anymore.

There will still be fighting. There will still be wars and hatred. I fear for the retalliation that might come. But for today, if only for today, at least we know that the bad man can't hurt us anymore. For today, there is solace.

God bless you, and God bless America.


  1. I was getting ready for school when my mom called me and said "turn on the TV. We're under attack." I had no clue what she was talking about and assumed it was Mobile being attacked. Saw the second plane hit and both buildings fall. Still had to go to school. In band we played a song that had Amazing Grace in it. I found out that I can play flute and cry at the same time. I called Sean, who was deployed in Ireland, on our break to check on him.

    I also recall that that evening, Amber, Kevin and I were at Genna's watching the announcement, all of us crying.

  2. it's so damn fresh, still, isn't it? so much emotion. it was so surreal here last night. (it didn't help matters that the arlington police chose that particular hour to use a helicopter to look for a sexual assault suspect RIGHT OVER OUR NEIGHBORHOOD - um, yikes!)

    and "the bad man can't hurt us anymore"? pretty much a perfect summation...


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