Sunday, September 11, 2011

in memoriam


I've been thinking what it meant then. What it means now.

A day so unforgettable, not just from what rushed to my senses that terrible day, but the vivid memories brought to the surface now from the things I felt then.

I got up extra early that September 11th . Wanted to make some zucchini bread before the morning's routine took the time away. The phone rang. "Emily. Turn on the T.V." my mother's urgent voice cried. That dreadful sick feeling slowly creeping its way into my body.

Disbelief. Shock. Surreal, this unforeseen how could this be happening nightmare unfolding before our very eyes. Before the world's eyes.

The children gather. Questions and fright all over their faces. Keith rushes up from his time on the treadmill. We're glued, sucked in to this horror on the screen. A feeling so helpless. Realizing to my heart's dismay that I can't shelter these children from this new reality. Something so terrible, so unbelievable for any parent to ever have to explain to a child.

We gather them close, tight in a united circle of prayer. Desperate, we realize it's the only way, the only thing to do now. Seeking the Comforter, pleading for the Father for protection. For these little ones to feel safe, protected, peace if only in the walls of this our home. Hearts pleading, emotion too hard to express for those whose lives were so senselessly taken.  For their families. mourning, left behind in the ruins.

Darkness falls none too soon. A relief and excuse to stop the barrage of images. To say that it was enough. I need to escape it all. I leave the house. I need to breathe. I make the excuse of taking my oh so trivial now overdue library book back. I drive down these strange empty streets, my heart so full of sorrow, so empty, so never to be forgotten feeling. Security gone, even in this little community far away from those scenes of terror.

Country united, we turn to God again. We rebuild. Freedoms so easily forgotten, so taken for granted- these are the things we cling  to.

Life goes on. 

Or so it seems.


Now, here we are remembering again. Our country, its citizens honoring those beloved ones who were taken. Never forgetting the sacred sacrifice of those brave souls who gave their lives all because of love.

So happy that my children can be taught of these things, this week, reminded of it all. For the reverence shown at the little flag ceremony in front of their school last Friday. For Eliza's 8th grade class having the opportunity to visit the "Healing Field" in Sandy. Over 3,000 flags displayed, tagged with the names and stories of those who died. For the children in her class being able to help place those tags and feeling a special peace, a reverent holiness there.

For Mama, yesterday, urging me to take her 9/11 books, "so your children will know". For a daughter who stayed up 'till 1'clock this morning, doing just that.


For the inspiration I felt in the car this morning, listening to sacred choral music in remembrance. For that quiet time of solemn reflection.

For the tears filling my eyes when a heart-felt prayer was offered in church for those who still suffer. That they can find the peace they so desperately seek.

On reflection, I see that my life wasn't only affected as an onlooker to these events. It's hit closer to home than I saw at first glance. I see now that this tragedy greatly influenced my son Gary, who at the time was an impressionable ten year old boy. I think it was a turning point for him, a catalyst for his decision several years later to focus his university experience on Middle East studies and Arabic.

He was initially motivated out of his fierce desire to protect our country. As he approached his departure to study abroad in Jordan, he was apprehensive and uncertain. To the point of tears, wondering how his feelings of loyalty and devotion for his country would influence his feelings for these Muslims that he would be associating with so closely. How he could make peace with it all. In time, as he immersed himself into this culture, as he started to form relationships with real people, people whose hearts, he found, were so similar to his, his fears and prejudices toward this religion of Islam, the goodness he found in so many of it's followers, dissipated. His heart, his eyes opened in understanding. He could see the goodness in people, despite the disparaging gaps in culture and religion. Despite the dispicable actions of those sick individuals responsible for the tragedy of 9/11. 

Just the other day, on Labor Day, he called me, eager to tell me he was inside a Middle Eastern market he was so surprised and excited to discover. His voice so happy, so glad to feel back at "home" with the people he learned to love.

This building of bridges, this understanding, this overcoming of prejudices, this appreciation of differences, even if it's between two people like Gary and his beloved Arab friend, Ibrahim, this fills me with hope for a better world. Hope for healing. For peace on earth. I'm not sure if I will ever live to see that day, a day when hatred and conflict will ever resolve.



But I do have hope for the future even as I remember and honor the past.

The tragedy, the terror that was that day. A day I'll never, ever forget.

I honor it all.

2 comments:

  1. Among the many victims of 9/11 about 62 were of the muslim faith. Love the picture of Gary and his friend!

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