I was 36 years old, mother to five young kids and hosting my mother and father-in-law in our home for a week. My father in law had gone out for some coffee and the paper, and was just returning to the neighborhood, when I slowed down to pass him, going in the opposite direction (to shop for a washer). He told me some news that he had heard on the car radio, and suggested that I might want to turn around and go back home. I ran in the door, turned on the television set, realized (in horror) that what he told me was accurate, and ran to the bottom of the stairs to shout up to my mother in law (who was ironing) to come downstairs. I also called my husband at work, and tried desperately to reach my brother on his cell phone, as he commuted from Long Island to the City.
I remember wanting to rush to the schools to scoop up my children, and gather my family into the safe haven of our home. I remember crying on the couch, as we watched the two towers collapse. I remember walking around in a stupor, doing the normal things like dishes and diapers and laundry, and wondered why any of those things mattered, really. But they did. Because asking my children about their day (and learning that they were mercifully shielded from the horrific exposure of the tragedy) and fixing dinner and feeling grateful for the mundane routine of my life became important; the diapers and toys strewn about and playing charades and going to church even though there was so much to feel angst about were what helped me to relax and feel safe again, as the days and weeks and months went by.
The secretary at the High School lost her son in one of the towers that day. A friend made a decision not to work (as a flight attendant out of Boston) that day. My brother sat across the bridge from the city in stopped traffic for seven hours that day, never making it to his appointment. We all have connections and memories to September 11th. May we continue to live in a nation where we recognize that good will always over power evil. May we forever live up to the motto of our country, and demonstrate that, truly, In God We Trust.
It's hard to believe that ten years have gone by.
May we never forget.