Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whatever Happened to Never Forget?

Yesterday was a beautiful Tuesday morning, just like 11 years ago. My life has changed quite a bit since then. 3 kids, living in the suburbs, no longer working outside the home.

I didn't lose anyone that day although I did know one person by association. The younger brother of one of my grade school classmates was on flight 11. He was 23.

My Dad worked for 9 years in One World Trade Center. I used to live going to visit his office. Standing at the bottom and looking up at the amazing tall buildings. Most of our special family dinners were at Windows on the World. His company moved out back in the 80s but we always referred to the Twin Towers as Dad's office. When I heard the towers had fallen (I was at work at the time and we heard it on the radio when it happened) I cried.

I cried for the people who had perished, I cried for the people they had left behind, but I also cried because those memories were now just going to have to be memories. My husband and I had already been planning a trip to NYC for the following month. We were planning on staying at the Millennium Hotel downtown and were going to have dinner at the Windows on the World.

We still went on our trip, stayed at Marriott Marquis in Times Square instead, went to a different fancy restaurant. As much as I enjoyed being back in New York it wasn't the same. We went down to Ground Zero, or as close as we could get. It was eerie being down there with a gap in the skyline, barricades and soldiers everywhere. I felt I needed to go but hated doing it.  My parents have not been back to the City since 2001.  My Mom says she doesn't want to go.  She doesn't want to actually see the city without the Towers there.

I still get sad anytime I see a picture of the skyline. If it's an old picture it makes me sentimental, if it's newer it makes me angry.

In the aftermath of the attacks there was lots of talk of "Never Forget". The country came together in a way it hadn't in a long time. Friends of mine who lived in New York at the time talked about how the huge city came to feel like a community. Despite living in the US most of my life, I am not an American citizen, but after that day I started feeling more patriotic and more American.

Yesterday morning I retold my story and my feelings from that day to my kids. I sent them each to school with a little flag that we had left over from the Memorial Day parade. The school had their flag at half mast. After school I asked my kids what the school did to honor the day - nothing. Nothing said in the morning announcements, nothing said in the classrooms. When other students saw my daughters' flags they asked why they had them. When they told them it was in remembrance of 9/11, most kids responded, oh yeah, I forgot about that. Now to be fair these kids weren't born when it happened so I don't expect them to remember. But what about the parents? If not for all the posts and pictures friends of mine posted on Facebook in honor of those who died, it would have been like any other day, which isn't fair to those who died or lost loved ones.

I will never forget.....
The tears I shed that day and the days to follow for the lives that were lost
The bravery of the passengers on United flight 93 for bringing the plane down in Pennsylvania and saving the lives of countless strangers.
How eerie it felt walking home from work without a plane in the sky
How scary it was walking home that first day wondering if a strike on Chicago was next
How awful I felt when I heard that one of my friends in DC went to a hospital to give blood for the victims of the Pentagon attacks, and was turned away as they didn't need any. There weren't enough survivors who needed blood
How proud we all felt hearing the stories of brave first responders rushing to save lives while risking their own.

1 comment:

  1. It is a hard day. I grew up in New Jersey. My dad was from New York. We lost a girl a went to high school with as well as a number from my town. My grandmother lived near NYC so I grew up in the shadows of the towers. It will never be the same. We went through the city this summer and 11 years later I still choke up when I look at the skyline. I have been trying to explain it to my daughter in bits and pieces. After I read your post, I asked her if she had a moment of silence on Tuesday and she said they didn't. I am surprised. I know that they had one last year because I checked with the teacher since I had yet to tell my daughter about 9/11.


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