09 September 2011

Where were you when the world stop turning?

I thought I was ready for this 10th anniversary, turns out I was wrong.


Ten years ago I was a police officer working nightwatch.  I had come home, exhausted as usual, scanned the early morning headlines and went to bed.  I slept amazingly well, something that wouldn't happen again for quite some time.  I woke up and saw the light on my answering machine blinking furiously.  The phone only rang in the kitchen of my house, so I could sleep during the days.  I never heard the series of calls all day long.  After the third message, I turned on my telephone and saw just how much the world had changed...


The skies were clear for several days and nights after that day. No planes allowed.  It was a shocking silence that is difficult to put into words.  There was no traffic pattern to rely on, no lights in a dark sky, no way to tell time by in the increase or decrease in plane traffic.  It is something you don't even realize is important, until it is gone.  Maybe that was a lesson all by itself.


Until that day I lived in a world where I believed the best of society.  It's not that we haven't had tragedy in the US, in fact the previous few terrorist events had been domestic - Oklahoma City, Waco, and Columbine.  I think maybe that's worse, but really how can you measure loss?  We lost our collective innocence that day, along with the people in the planes, the Towers, the Pentagon, and the field.


We lost mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, parents, grandparents, children, aunts and uncles, and best friends.  We lost first responders who went to work that day, like every other day, knowing they might not come home.  Their families supported their choice to be the ones running into the chaos, fire, and danger when everyone else was running away.  They supported them because they loved them and they knew it was a calling.  And that day, they were called to serve a greater purpose.


What we found that day were heroes.  Not just the finest and the bravest, but the strongest and the terrified ones that held open doors for their co-workers, carried friends down the stairs, made last minute phone calls for help from a plane, dragged strangers out of the rubble, and comforted each other in a mind-bending situation.  Heroes that never signed up for that role, but lived up to nonetheless.


Then there were the photos - every where - of missing loved ones.  Posted on fences, telephone poles, walls, street signs, and shown continuously by the media.  I think those walls of photos are ingrained in my mind as much as the dusty aftermath of the towers falling and the hole in the side of one of the largest federal buildings in the world.  Those pictures and what they represented were far more important to me than any building structures or what they represented.  Those scenes have become part of American history.


I have traveled to parts of the world, landing there while they too found themselves under attack.  I have a job now, that was developed partially as a result of blatant ongoing terrorism in the world.  I live through and with these events a little each day, so I thought surely re-living the paradigm shift of 2001 wouldn't be so emotional.  And yet I remember all of the moments immediately following that day.  I remember the flags flying high as a symbol in defiance of defeat.  I remember the blood drives and the red cross support and impromptu meetings to send help to the places in turmoil.  I remember the people thousands of miles away trying to find a way to connect and hold on and send prayers to families and communities they had never met.  I choose to see that new America as the result of that terrible day.


I choose to believe again in the power of good winning over bad. 

Source unknown

"And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve...
But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Joshua 24:15

(Items in the photos from the moving 9-11 memorial, if it comes to your town - go see it!)


M.E.

On Sunday visit :

18 comments:

Kathy S said...

Beautiful post remembering such a sad day.

Sarah (Nikki) said...

this is so well written....what happened has forever changed all of us....it's horror forever embedded on our hearts....changing the way we move in the world.

TexWisGirl said...

nicely said, m-e

Marina said...

I am not from US, but I remember that day really well.. It was so shocking!

Jan n Jer said...

We will never forget...a new n different America has emerged! Great post!

Laura said...

I appreciate this post. Thank you for your honesty.

Betsy said...

wonderful tribute.

it was a gorgeous blue sky day in Ohio 9-11-01. I sent the boys off to school and went shopping. A few hours late came home and flipped on the news....and didn't move from the TV all day. So much loss. We'll never forget.

Grandma Becky said...

Thanks for sharing, even though it's sad. I was listening to the radio when I woke up and heard stuff happening and not sure what happened then went to living room and turned on the tv. OH MY! When son awake later, he thought it was a movie, but No, son, it's real...he was a teen then. Hubby heard about it as well.....I am visiting the Field of Flags this afternoon that commemorates 9/11, interesting how they've got it all set up. I will post it soon cuz I'm taking photos, as always! Have a good day!

mountain mama said...

wow, beautiful words about such a tragic day.

God bless~

Pain to Purpose said...

Thank you for posting this personal perspective. What a tough day, brings back so many emotions, and I know for some...those emotions have never left. Thank you for your service.
Carrie

Anonymous said...

For those of us residing near DC and the Pentagon, we will all remember that day. I, for one, will remember the sound in the distance when the plane crashed. We all pray we will never again endure such a tragedy. Please remember to fly our flag proudly now in remembrance not only for those who lost their lives, but to remember all those in active service now watching over all of us. Please Lord, watch over them and bring them home.

Ashley said...

I was a sophomore taking a major test that day. They actually postponed our state wide mandatory test..and we all sat in our classrooms, and watched the second plane go in the towers. It's something I will never forget. Thank you for posting this. It's something we need not forget, and we all need to continue to stay strong..which I think is what we have all proudly done. Your job seems hard..but in the end rewarding. Keep your head up..and we will all keep trucking along : )

Stefanie Brown said...

What an amazing post. My husband and I visited Ground Zero 6 months after 9/11. It was still devastated. The area was highly protected so the ability to see what you saw wasn't available. Thank you for sharing!
Happy SS&S...

Charlotte said...

It is such an emotional day for America and especially for those who were there or were directly affected. Thank you for sharing this heart-felt post.
Blessings,
Charlotte

Pamela said...

I was working on my book when the planes hit. A friend e-mailed and alerted me. It was a tearful day -- as was the grieving began. It was also my husband's birthday. This was written so poignantly and beautifully.

Blessings,
Pamela

Jenn said...

A day that will never be forgotten! It is amazing how much our country turned to the Lord on that day and then again how quickly we turn our backs yet again. I will have to be on the look out for the moving memorial.

Halcyon said...

A day that changed us all. Thanks for your story and memories.

Inger-M said...

A very moving post, and so well written!
We were all stuck to the TV screen that day, watching the unbelievable happen. I flew in to Newark airport 11 days later, for a long planned 4 week trip of traveling the US. It was an amazing experience.
On July 22 this year we had the twin terror attacks in Norway. What we thought would never happen to us, did happen. And we too, like you say, lost our innocence that day.