Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Living Memorial

Out of the ashes of the horrific 9/11 attacks, a positive custom is taking hold.

Since 2002, victims’ family members and friends have joined with community nonprofits, faith-based groups and others to mobilize Americans to mark the anniversary of the attacks with useful volunteer service. Under a provision of the larger national service measure signed in April by President Obama, Friday will be the first 9/11 anniversary to be commemorated as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Read the rest of this article here.
What a wonderful thing.

I know that on 9/11 I always find myself in need of a few private moments, especially on first waking up. In a lot of ways I am afraid to look at my computer, because that's where I first heard the news. I popped into an IRC chat room where I routinely had a morning chit chat over coffee with friends, only to find people going around claiming someone was bombing the United States.

At first, I thought it was a hoax. I wasn't awake yet, the coffee hadn't kicked in, and my eyes were bleary. Maybe they were pulling our legs? Unfortunately, it was no hoax, and I was quickly brought up to speed and ran to my television in time to catch a terrifyingly spectacular vision of the second plane going into the Towers.

I didn't believe my eyes. How could this be happening? How could something so terrible really be happening HERE... in my world? Suddenly my heart leaped into my throat as I realized that my love was supposed to be working in or near the pentagon that day. Another friend was scheduled on an early morning flight to be IN the World Trade Center on business. My mind filled with horrible visions of the people that I loved, and those who were "mere" acquaintances, being trapped in that building.

I remember crying for a long time. I remember walking rather than driving to school to pick up my daughter, because I was afraid I would crash. I remember trying to explain the ugly visions on the television to my then-6 year old. I remember frantically trying to reach the people I knew who had any reason to be in NYC that day, and getting only that fast busy that was so terrifying.

At the time, I lived far away from NYC, but the disaster touched my life in so many ways. Tomorrow morning, when I wake up but before the coffee hits my system, I'll sit as I always do on 9/11, and have a good cry. I'll cry for the thousands who died on the unprecedented attack on our populace. I'll cry for the joy of not losing the people who mean the most to me, through what I can only call a direct Act of God. I'll cry because I had to explain such an awful thing to my young child.

Then I'll stand up, and start my day... because you can't let the bastards get you down.
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