I stayed home Friday. After having it out with my insurance company over the phone, I broke down and decided that I needed a day off — a “mental health day” as my mother likes to call it. I had been vaguely aware of the date, but honestly I’ve been too busy with work and other things to allow myself to fully fixate and quite honestly part of me didn’t want to remember.
In truth, I didn’t want to feel it at all — any of it. Anger, fear, sadness, outrage, … I’m an empathetic sponge who wanted the whole world to go away and stop reminding me of that horrible day. But I knew I would have to face it sooner or later.
Well I’m doing better this week, and am still trying to catch up on my feeds. I’ve sat and cried to every 9-11 related thing posted on all my favorite sites. Jules at Everyday Mommy asked the question that I’m sure many of us do when this topic comes up in conversation: Where were you?
I remember that morning very clearly. I was at work. It’s not too far from where I’m working now in fact. It was a slow morning, so I had hopped onto IRC and was happily chatting in several of my favorite channels. Someone announced in #phrozencrew that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings. I jumped onto the CNN website because they had live streams on their site, so I could watch the TV feed in realtime.
“Surely it was a mistake,” I remember thinking. “No one would do such a thing on purpose.”
I had just tuned in when the second plane had hit. As tears streamed down my face, I couldn’t believe my eyes. One was a mistake. Two was on purpose. The crash on the Pentagon soon followed. Someone was attacking us. Someone wanted to send us a message. It came through loud and clear. All those innocent people! Who would do such a thing? It would be hours later before we all knew for sure.
At that moment, my mind shifted to loved ones who I knew were in New York that day. One friend, a teacher at NYU, who I knew was located near the Towers couldn’t be reached. Another, who I knew for certain worked in the WTC, and I couldn’t reach either. A handful of other friends I knew were in the area, but not sure of where exactly they were located. I spent a good part of the morning frantically dialing and emailing anyone and everyone I could think of, all the while watching the atrocities unfold live, right before my very eyes. I remember hearing coworkers trying to reach their loved ones. One woman I knew was desperately trying to page her daughter, who was in flight somewhere over the East Coast.
At this point no one could concentrate on work. A TV was rolled into the breakroom and we all huddled around it. We all watched in horror when each tower collapsed, then reports of another plane crash (Flight 93) flashed across the screen. The rest of the day was spent in complete shock. I don’t remember anything else about that week, just that day. As a people, we all embraced and pulled together as one. This was not just a tragedy for New York, it was a tragedy for us all. We were ALL affected.
What worries me is that there is a large number of people now who seem to have forgotten what happened on that day. That number multiplies exponentially with each passing anniversary. Why has complacency set in?
I can’t be complacent. I can’t help but feel, and remember. I remember the horrors — seeing people jump to their deaths over and over again, the heroes that raced in to help who were never seen again, the bodies pulled from the rubble, the agony of the poor souls still looking for lost loved ones. I remember everything. I still have the nightmares. And every September 11th, I must mentally and emotionally go back there and re-live everything all over again …
… Because to forget would be the greatest tragedy of all.