September 11, 2008

This Day

Many of my fellow bloggers are posting tributes to those who fell on 9/11, or recollections of a sort — mine is closest to Ace's, if you care — but I can't form anything of which I'm proud.

I hate to say it, but can't be sure I clearly recall 9/11 anymore, and in fact, I'm pretty sure I don't.

I remember flashes of details, but what I archived of that September morning were little more than a swirl of naked unformed emotions I've never been able to articulate and I know I never will, and I know the memories of that day were rewritten and rewritten again in my mind in the days that followed.

One thing I recall with perfect certainty, without reservation. How unbelievably, beautifully crisp and blue the sky was that morning in the Hudson Valley after it all happened.

I lived in a little town on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River at the time called New Windsor.

In the days and weeks that followed, as the rest of the country was coming to grips with the magnitude of the total loss, we were watching funerals of our neighbors in the surrounding small towns, and hearing the survival stories of others. Again, I don't trust the memories and can't channel the emotions, and I won't cheapen the memories of those lost with what I do recall with forced sentimentality.

Those of you who lost someone that day or part of yourself, you have my sincere condolences. For my neighbor across the street, the NYPD cop that aged years in the months that followed, I'm sorry I could not take on part of your burden.

For the rest, I simply have nothing worth saying.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 11, 2008 09:36 AM


Posted by: Mark at September 11, 2008 10:16 AM

Nicely stated.

I'm sure other bloggers are all over this, but I couldn't help but notice that google took the time to come up with a special logo commemorating the testing of the Hadron Collider yesterday, but couldn't be bothered to do the same for the anniversary of 9/11. Real classy.

Like you, the google PR folks will say that they don't want to cheapen the memories of that terrible day, but unlike you, they won't mean it.

Posted by: Zeus at September 11, 2008 11:16 AM

9/11/2001 was a strange day for me. A friend I'd only known for a few days called and I was still asleep when I heard this frantic voice on the phone saying, "turn on your TV!" I did just as the 2nd plane hit. I admit that at first I thought it was a trailer for some disaster movie. A few minutes later my friend called back asking if he could come over, he "couldn't watch it alone." I thought he was making an excuse, but I said okay. I still felt nothing. It was like that all day long.

I had been going through a family crisis where my Mom had a stroke and the doctors were telling me it was touch and go, emotionally I had nothing left for the disaster. So I watched in a detached way, not allowing any emotion to creep in. I had no emotion left to give for the horror of the day.

It wasn't until the following day that it hit me. When I saw the full replay of both planes, the fall of the towers, the devastation, the people and their reactions, it finally all hit me. My grown kids were so obviously shaken and really having a hard time absorbing what had happened. I liken it to how I felt as a freshman in college when the word came that the President had been assassinated. Their world had turned upside down in the same way mine had been so many years earlier. When I finally looked to see what they were doing, I found them outside putting up every flag we owned, every piece of bunting, and making homemade signs to put in the windows.

When I realized that Flight 93 that went down in that Shanksville field had crashed very near a small cemetery where some of my early ancestors are buried, I finally lost it. Suddenly it wasn't a movie, it wasn't something that happened 3000 miles away, it was real, it was close to home, and I realized it was all of us, and that everything would be different.

I prayed for those whose lives were lost, I prayed for America, and most of all I prayed for President Bush.

Posted by: Sara at September 11, 2008 12:07 PM

It was surreal but I remember it all too clearly.

Posted by: Shoprat at September 11, 2008 02:02 PM

One of my graduate's, Marjorie Champion Salamone, BS and MS Auburn, office was where the criminals initially struck. They found part of the landing gear there and identified her from her dental records.

Posted by: Peter Schwartz at September 11, 2008 03:10 PM