Today brings with it a multitude of memories for we Americans.
Today was a day I held my children tighter and didn't send William to school on 9-11-01.
The only day he has ever missed that wasn't an illness.
I remember waking up, and Bill calling me from a rooftop at John Wayne Airport, asking me to quickly run to the TV and turn it on. He didn't know why all the planes were grounded, the noise was deafening from all the jets, and he needed to have some information so he knew what to do with his crew.
I turned the TV on and fell to my knees.. stunned. Instantly crying, shuddering at the horror.
A plane had flown directly into one of the Twin Towers.
I ate at the Windows on the World restaurant at 107 stories high in August 1990 in the North Tower. I remembered taking the elevators up... up... up... so high my ears popped numerous times.
We were above the clouds.
They were so high, one could never see the top while being at the bottom.
It was like flying... only more serene. No noise.
I remember how quiet and wonderful everything was up there. I remember thinking this must be what being a bird feels like.
I remember seeing the sheer magnitude of how many offices and people worked in these two awe inspiring buildings.
They weren't pretty to look at. Lots of grey and concrete. The windows at the restaurant were long and lean, in between the metal pillars left laying bare at the bottom after the tragedy.
I was at in the Towers prior to the 1993 bombings.
After those bombings, I remembered thinking... "There's no way any of those people knew what was going on down there" It was just so high up.
I could NOT believe I wouldn't be able to take my children to those towers. I couldn't believe a plane took them down. I wanted to believe no one saw the planes coming.
I remember how long a trip it was to get up and down on the elevators. Minutes and minutes, and switching elevators. I was sick to my stomach at the memory of people scrambling to get from one office and building to another, under normal conditions. It was gut wrenching to even fathom what it must have been like on 9/11.
I remember thinking how I understood the peoples decision to jump off the building before it comsumed them. They wanted their lives to end on their own terms. No one was going to take that decision away from them. I remember someone saying at the top of the Empire State Building that if you dropped a dime off the top of it, if it hit the ground it would bore into the concrete a foot down. The towers were so. much. taller.
We've taken our kids to Ground Zero twice.
Twice, they marveled at how... in middle of the extremely chaotic Financial District of Manhattan, everyone speaks in hushed tones at the site, in reverance to those fallen.
Even babies were miraculously quiet... like God spoke to them and asked them to be quieter.
The pace of walking slows, hands are involuntarily raised to mouths in shock.
We saw it raw, with remnants remaining, and the following year, concrete was covering the remnants and progress was made to rebuild.
Names... so many names engraved on metal.
So many pictures of that awful day.
The Fire Station #10 forever immortalized as it was that day.
All my relatives from New York have never been to the site. It is still too raw.
So many different nationalities at the site. Many people praying, many people crying, many people silently cursing.
May today be a way of always reminding us to say I love you, hug tighter, be nicer to one another. Not just those of us here in America, but those that are different from us.
Let's not blame an entire race of people for the actions of a few evil, vile humans.
Love one another.
If we all did that, none of this would ever happen again.