You remember where you were. People say that they remember where they were when they found out JFK had been shot. I never really understood that growing up – how did adults from every state and every walk of life remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the president had been shot? It seemed so strange to me. Sadly, thirteen years ago I learned exactly what they meant. My science teacher got a call and I have never seen anyone go so ashen, she told us an abridged version of the first attack and we switched classes to our next period. My history teacher in second period had taught in New York City for seven years before moving to the suburbs and her hands shook as she explained to us what the plane crash meant. To explain she turned to the chalk board and we were absolutely silent for five minutes.
Just as she turned around and revealed a map on the chalkboard of Lower Manhattan and exactly where the twin towers were, we found out the second plane hit. With tears streaming down her face she asked each of us where our parents worked and put an “x” on the map representing their office. With 20 girls in the room their were thirteen x’s on the board, including one for my dad. That is not a day I will ever forget. My dad is still with us but that was not the case for a few of my classmates. My church had funerals every day through Christmas. September 11th effected me more than most Americans, but to those related to the 2,977 victims, this day is for you. This day will always be a remembrance.
Two months ago I finished a book and I earmarked a passage for this post. It is graphic in a front page of The New York Times way but this monologue from James Patterson’s Gone sheds perspective on this day:
Thank you to those four hundred and three who gave their lives. Thank you to all of those who serve, thank you to all of those who keep us safe!
And, if you have not seen this video you must watch it. I first learned about this story when it was printed in a PlayBill and then I had the chance Tony Award-winning actress LaChanze perform in If/Then opposite Idina Menzell. She lost her husband in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and her performance, acaleplla and with less than 24 hours notice, this rendition of “Amazing Grace” during the May 15th dedication of the National September 11th Memorial Museum in New York City brings me to tears. (I honestly teared up watching it while writing this post – I had to make sure I had the right video!)