Friday, September 11, 2009

History

Today is September 11th. Eight years ago life as we knew it changed forever. I still remember little details of that day quite well. I was still working for the Amerks at the time, and I first heard about a plane hitting the World Trade Center right when I got into work. I was a little late that day. The previous day had been our sponsor golf tournament, and I was no doubt exhausted from that. Ironically, when we printed pictures that we took of the foursomes at the golf tournament, we found out that the date on the camera was set wrong...to September 11th. Yikes...talk about awkward when we had to send them out!

Anyway, the first thing I think most people thought when they heard the news was that it was a small private plane. It was pretty evident that it was a little more than that once we headed back to the locker room to watch the footage on TV. By then the second plane may have hit, but I'm not sure. It was shocking to say the least. And I'm pretty sure I saw one of the buildings fall live, but I can't remember if it was the first or second. But I do remember thinking it was almost unfathomable that an entire gigantic skyscraper (let alone two) that was such an iconic part of the NYC skyline just wasn't there anymore. And obviously the thought of people being stuck in there was just horrifying. September was a busy time for me, so I think in between news reports I kept trying to get some work done. The internet was completely jammed up, making it almost impossible to get good updates from anywhere except TV. My boss had a little black and white TV at his desk so we could keep abreast of what was going on, and then head back to the locker room when there was something worth watching. I remember watching footage of a reporter giving a live update from the Pentagon, and that reporter saying that he heard a loud noise...which, of course, ended up being the plane that hit the Pentagon. And when the plane crashed in Pennsylvania, right about then it seemed like the world was coming to an end. There was a total lack of control. Where would a plane crash next? What, if anything, could stop these psychos? The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. Supposedly we got let out early that day, but I don't remember leaving early. I do remember driving home listening to the radio and hearing that WTC 7 collapsed. It was an emotionally exhausting day, and quite the contrast to the absolutely lovely day--warm and abundant blue skies. On a personal note I was a little bummed because I heard on the radio during my drive home that the Stevie Nicks concert that was coming to the Blue Cross Arena a couple days later (that my college roommate Mary and I had tickets for) was canceled. I think there were some issues with them getting into town, along with some personal connections that band members had with people affected by the attacks. Small beans compared to the larger picture that day, but it was still a bummer.

Back then Craig and I had only been dating for about a month and a half. That night we went to dinner at the new Ruby Tuesday's near my apartment. It actually opened the day before. I just couldn't bring myself to cook that night. Of course, we spent all of dinner staring at the TVs, just marveling at what had transpired that day. It was surreal. Incredibly sad and truly unbelievable. I think in the weeks that followed I had to forcibly turn off the near-constant coverage. It was just too depressing.

Eight years later it's still incredibly sad. The knot-in-my-stomach feeling whenever it comes up has subsided a bit. I probably try not to think about it too deeply, particularly now as a parent, because it's just too emotionally exhausting. I feel fortunate that I have that option, as there are 3,000 other families out there that don't.

How does this all relate to Jacob? Well, being a parent obviously brings a new dimension to the thought of kids who lost parents, pregnant women who lost husbands, parents who lost kids, etc. Putting myself in those scenarios is just agonizing. And then I wonder how Jacob will view September 11th. It seems to me that it's pretty similar to Pearl Harbor Day. It was a major attack with huge historical implications. It will be talked about in history books, and maybe Jacob will ask about our experience someday. I don't know if I ever asked my grandparents about Pearl Harbor, but I think I asked my parents about the JFK assassination once. So maybe it'll be the same thing. But it will certainly be interesting when he's in school and it's part of his history book. It will never be something he experienced personally (and I hope he never experiences anything similar), but it's something that his parents will remember for years to come. It shaped the world we live in today and in at least some small way will shape the world that Jacob grows up in. Amazing stuff to ponder on this historical day.

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