Friday, September 11, 2009

Moments of Silence

I was just leaving my office to get coffee when the first radio broadcast telling us that "a plane" had flown into the World Trade Center was met with chuckles. "What idiot could fly a small plane into that big building?" Ted said aloud. Still, we were unsure what was happening, even as we watched live footage of the smoking tower on TVs in the office next door. Then we watched in horror as another plane hit the Towers, quickly proving this was no joke - or accident. Confusion reigned in our office. Too many questions; too few answers. However, after we heard that the Pentagon had been hit then all bets were off. The unthinkable became the now.
We were under attack.
Katie and I lived in Jamaica Plain and we had access to the Orange line, commuter rail and even a cab, if necessary. We volunteered to stay behind in the office so that people who lived further away could leave earlier. I felt that I should stay at work as long as possible - phones being critical services and all that. I wanted Katie to leave; she wouldn't. We were two of the last people to leave the office. We exited the building onto Franklin Street. We were shocked by what we heard.
The city was silent. There were no horn blasts, no cars speeding through red lights and no sounds from anyone on the street. White, puffy clouds passed through bright blue skies and the temperature was warm. A late summer day with a hint of Autumn in the air. It was a beautiful day. As people silently walked passed us heading towards South Station I stood on the corner of Franklin and Congress, wondering when the next airplane would fall from the sky.
And I was afraid.
"My daughter lives too far away" I thought as I contemplated the end of the world. Too many people I loved lived too far away from me.
Our train ride home was silent, too. The click-clack of the train wheels the only sound louder than my heart which was pounding in my chest.
As we exited Forest Hills the silence was shattered by the sound of a fighter jet streaking over the city. We knew all air traffic had been grounded. The sight of this attack craft searching the skies a grim hint of the hours and days ahead.
We arrived home and called our families. I called Jenna, who had arrived home safely from school. I called my Dad, who was safe at home, too, and wondering what the world would look like tomorrow.
Like the rest of America, we stayed glued to our television sets, watching our lives unfold (and end) before us; watching our futures change before our eyes. Our silence was only punctuated by the horror of it all.
We cried as the Towers fell.
We cried a lot that day.
There are very few events of my lifetime that are burned into my consciousness: The notification from the doctors that Mom had died, the Challenger explosion, and now this. To this day film of the burning Towers fills me with a dread and sorrow that I can't explain. Scenes from movies that feature the Twin Towers in their skyline seem old, out-of-date, profane.
I still remember it like it was yesterday. It is the horror that stalks the shadows of my complacency and smugness. It is a living thing; a scar on my personal psyche as well as that of our country. It is the wound that never heals. I hope it never does.
Because as much as I want to forget it, I never want to forget September 11, 2001.


Blogger Fox In Detox said... it was yesterday.

2:10 PM, September 13, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home