Thursday, September 11, 2014
9-11-14, Thirteen Years -
It is unbelievably hard to fathom that it has been 13 years.
Mama and I talked today about 9/11 a little bit, and expressed how unreal it seems to have been so long. It sounds cliche, but time truly does fly past so very quickly. And yet time does not stop the sharpness of the memories from fading.
9/11 always makes me unbearably sad. I think it always should.
I think it is so important to remember and to honor the lives lost, the great cost of sacrifice, the honorable who gave all on a horrible day. If we aren't sad, we aren't remembering.
I usually pray my way through 9/11. I pray for the families, and I pray for peace, and I pray for our nation.
And I watch this and bawl my eyes out every single year. "John & Joe" by Story Corps.
Last night I found all the audio archives of the Oral Histories that are at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in NY. With tears in my eyes, I listened to story after story after story.
I highly recommend it to y'all. The stories are profound, and deeply moving and important to the living on of memories and closure. And it helps us understand just a little bit more as a nation and a people. They are anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 minutes long. You can listen to them here.
Photo taken September 11, 2013.
Memories have been flooding in these past few days with the realization the anniversary was coming up. It was a sucker punch to the gut and an extremely unwelcome walk down a traumatic memory lane.
I'm sure I've said it before, but I remember so clearly sitting in the front seat of our car with Mom. We were running errands and were going home. I still remember the red light intersection we were stopped at, here in our town. Mom turned on the radio, and the news came rushing into the car. I remember scrunching my face in confusion and we stared at each other, uncomprehending. The news reporter on the radio was breaking up, everything was mass confusion. I don't remember the words, I just remember the worry. We sped home, because at that time, we didn't have cell phones, and I know Mom wanted to get in touch with my Dad.
When we got home, the phone was ringing off the hook. Family was calling in. My Aunt called, and was so worried that a plane would hit the Cape (NASA), and she kept saying "It's bad, it's bad.". She thought we should evacuate. For a brief split second, I remember thinking "Where would we go? If it's a plane, it will find us.".
My Mom hung up from her sister, and called Daddy, much more panicked than before. "Ed, she's saying a plane might be headed for NASA. Please come home. Can you come home?". Dad couldn't come home, the whole Cape was on lockdown after the 2nd plane hit. No one could leave. Daddy says that's the first time he can remember going to the computer to find out what was going on. I remember Daddy's reassuring voice coming through the telephone, and Mom hung up much more calm than before.
At the time, we knew nothing. There was no terrorist info. There were no confirmations except the crash sites and the eyewitness news. We knew so very little, and it was all as if the world had gone crazy, and everything had changed. It was complete chaos and disaster and grief as a nation.
I sat in the kitchen for hours, just listening to the news come in and go out. I was 13 years old.
We didn't have TV, so we didn't see the footage. I think my parents saw some of it, but I didn't see it until three years later. I'm not sure whether that was good for me or not, but it's the way it was.
Another memory that stands out to me is a few days after 9/11, early in the morning, I woke up and got out of bed, and silently stood in the doorway of our kitchen. Mama had the newspaper all spread out on the stovetop and was reading it under the range light. Her face had this shattered look on it that I know as a parent you try not to show in front of your children. There were tears on her cheeks, as she read an eyewitness account and looked at pictures too horrific for words. Pictures of people after, pictures of the towers falling, pictures of people in the tower, the smoking field, the Pentagon.
I came forward a little bit, and she saw me, and folded up the newspaper into a neat square before I could reach out to read it. I know she didn't want me knowing what she read. Too sad, too much for me. She was right to shield me, but I already knew how bad it was in the way our world had shifted.
I knew how bad it was by the way Daddy prayed each night with pauses, and the look on her face that morning.
And these 13 years later, I find myself unbearably sad all over again.
Jesus, come soon. And Lord, bring repentance and revival to our nation. We need You.
With love always, in remembrance of those we lost today. We remember.
~ Jean Marie ~