** note: this post originally appeared September 11, 2006**
Five years have passed.
No - that isn't possible.
could five years go by in the blink of an eye? It seems as though it
was only yesterday that those horrible events took place in New York, in
Washington, DC, and in Pennsylvania. I still remember EXACTLY what I
was doing five years ago on this day.
I came downstairs
with my daughter - who was only a baby at the time - to make her
breakfast. There was a talk show on - Ananda Lewis, if anyone cares to
know - and though I can't recall the topic, I knew I wanted to watch it.
So, on went the TV.
The news was on and I was aggravated. How could a pilot be so clueless as to HIT the World Trade Center? Everyone in the world knows it's there - and it's 110 stories tall. How on earth could you NOT see it?
I was saying this to an eight month old infant, who simply smiled as if to say, 'I hear ya, Mom.'.
Mind you, no one knew yet.
We were about to learn.
can still remember the horror, the revulsion, the disbelief at seeing
that second plane hit. To this day I can recall how my stomach kinked
and how I wanted to throw up.
When the first tower
fell, I could only stare. That feeling of wanting to throw up was even
more prevalent. All I could think was - 'All of those people IN those buildings...' How could any of them have gotten out? It'd be a miracle.
then, I knew all of my family members were present and accounted for
and I thank God for that. And all I wanted to do was throw my arms
around my husband and hug him. I kept thinking about how many families
would have an empty chair at their dinner table that night and I was
never so grateful as I was the moment my husband walked through the door
at the end of the day.
From our home, I could see the
smoke, the haze in the distance. You could smell the odor of burning
whatever that was thick in the air. But the oddest thing to me?
We live between Newark, Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Philadelphia airports. There are ALWAYS
planes overhead. Our walls don't shake or anything, but you can look up
at any given moment and see two or three planes - way high up -
Not that night five years ago.
night - when we both desperately needed a break from the news - DH and I
went out onto the deck, we sat there, just looking up at the peaceful
night sky that so belied what had happened earlier that day. I've never
heard such thick silence before. Then, the silence was shattered by the
scream of the military jets that were doing hourly fly-overs. Then
silence would reign once more. It was peaceful, but eerie, and it's
something I'd never seen before, or experienced since.
Five years have gone by since I cried for people I'd never met, for families I didn't know.
As I watched the ceremony at Ground Zero, I felt that same pain for those families with that empty chair.
We can never forget what happened that day. Not the sacrifices, not the loss, not the devastation.
We can never forget.