11 Sep I Remember.
I remember the prayers.
It was the first time in our nine-month-old marriage that I wished we owned a television. I’m not sure I would have wanted to watch the carnage in real time, though. It was enough to turn on NPR and hear the reporter announce that they expected the death toll to reach ten thousand. Something I distinctly recall, though I’m loath to find any other evidence of this now. I remember how my mind froze at that number. The tears started fresh as I tried to imagine so many loved ones crushed, suffocated, or burned beneath the towers.
The number turned out to be lower than that. Still, an unfathomable three thousand.
I remember how we carried on with plans to celebrate my two-year-old niece’s birthday because she was too young to understand what had happened. And because the terrorists couldn’t take this from us, whoever they were. Yet we knew, even as we gathered at Chuck E. Cheese, that this date would be more than her birthday from that point on.
I remember the men on the steps of the capitol, singing “God Bless America.” I thought maybe this would turn people to God.
Everybody prayed. Everybody went to the only One who had answers. Everybody felt lost and hurt and in danger. We held our loved ones more tightly. We reached out and touched each other. We helped in any way we could. We went to church.
We looked on in horror as the towers fell. And we were filled with hope when the stories of sacrificial rescue and selfless love started trickling in.
Everybody knew that this day would change everything. And so we prayed
Nearly a month ago, Todd and I took our kids to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I needed to do research for my current work-in-progress, but I also wanted the kids to understand what happened that day. It’s a surreal thing when your children learn in history class about something that you lived through. You start to realize what JFK’s assassination felt like to your parents.
It was real. It actually happened. And nobody saw it coming.
I’m desperate for my children to understand what it was like. When the world was crumbling and the future looked bleak. And everyone prayed. I don’t want it to be just a fact in a history book. I want them to know what the world was like before, and how it felt to be alive on that terrible day.
I remember. Do you?