This morning, like most mornings, I got up and walked to the window to check the weather.
Crisp and clear.
I shower, dress, send v2.0 off to school.
I wondered what would trigger painful memories first.
8:25 a.m. Today: I felt aware when I first stepped outside, heading to my car. That was the first moment I felt a hint of the remnants of pain. (To have lived that day nearly anywhere in the northeast U.S. is to know the feeling of that Tuesday—a crisp, crystal clear, September morning, exactly like today.)
I get in my car, start the engine and head out-of-town.
8:43 a.m. Today: I turn onto the highway and flip on the radio. I listen to some acoustic guitar music, a tune I don’t know. I reflect on eleven years ago as I navigate traffic.
9-11-2001: I sit working in my office. Around 9:00 a.m., I receive a call from a co-worker in an office upstairs to inform me of the first plane crash into the World Trade Center. I hang up and inform my three co-workers. I take a break and go outside to the loading dock to try to call my husband. He and another driver are on the way to Connecticut to make a delivery. The lines are busy. After numerous tries, the call connects. They have already passed through New York, and are already on the Connecticut side of the water. He tells me they can see the smoke from the towers burning.
Stilled for the moment, the monstrous propane tanks on the hill above the loading dock concern me. “An easy target,” I think to myself.
9:20 a.m. Today: I arrive in the school parking lot. It’s a long, peaceful walk across campus to my class. Again, I feel the memory cast in the blueness of the sky.
9:40 a.m. Today: With my classmates in Forensic Psychology, I watch the first half of a documentary, Murder on a Sunday Morning, about a juvenile accused of murder. The irony of watching a movie about murder is not lost on me.
11:00 a.m. Today: I really need a coffee, but the line is longer than I care to wait, so I head to the next class.
11:20 a.m. Today: Music Appreciation class. The professor announces she would like to begin class with a video on 9-11 and a brief period of reflection and prayer. She says she firmly believes that music and the arts can bring people of all walks together. As soon as she makes the announcement, my hands start to shake. I already know what the result will be.
9-11-2001: The professor and I were in our early 40’s.
11:30 a.m. Today: The video begins. The professor dims the lights. I cannot contain the tears, but I don’t care. When the video is over, the professor asks if anyone has anything to share. I cannot speak.
Three others speak. Aside from myself, the next oldest classmate was in the third grade when the terror attacks happened. All of the rest appear even younger. Their memories are of being in grade school, listening to announcements over the PA system indicating an early dismissal, with minimal explanation. The children will be informed by their parents later.
In 50 years, I hope they still remember.
Today, I remember.
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