I had another post planned for this morning, but I have September 11 on the brain. I can’t even think of a title for this post… so please bear with me as I get this out of my head and off my chest.
Waking up and turning on the news this morning to hear that there is a “credible” terrorist threat for the NYC area just fills me with angst and sadness. I worry about my husband leaving for work today. Sure, we’re on the other side of the country, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about him. I don’t say, “Oh that’ll never happen” or, “Yes, but that warning is for somewhere else…” I don’t think we’ll ever feel totally safe again. Let’s be honest, 9/11 wasn’t just a failure of intelligence, it was also a failure of imagination. We live in a world where anything can happen.
On the morning of September 10, 2001 my mom was on a United Airlines flight traveling from Boston to Los Angeles. It makes me weak in the knees to think of what might of happened had her flight been the next day. As we all know, both of the planes that hit the Trade Center towers were out of Boston, headed for Los Angeles.
It reminds me a little of that movie, Sliding Doors Where simple decisions or a missed train can alter a life.
There were so many stories of lives saved because someone missed a bus on the way to work or overslept or had to run an errand on the way to work… But there were certainly people there who lost their lives even though they wouldn’t have been there under ordinary circumstances.
My parents told me about a Christmas card they received from some friends that year. My dad knew them from his Marine/state department days and they live in the DC area. At the bottom of the card they had added the note, “we have got to tell you about our close call on September 11″. They assumed that Bill had been working at the Pentagon that morning.
Bill did work at the Pentagon, but he and 3 or 4 colleagues were in New York for some meetings at the World Trade Center. On the way to the meeting, Bill spilled coffee on his shirt. He ran back to the hotel to change, intending to catch up with his colleagues.
Because of spilled coffee, Bill wasn’t in the Trade Center. All of his colleagues were killed.
So why all of this rambling from me today?
Maybe because like everyone else, I remember with such clarity where I was, what I was doing, and how I felt when I first saw the images. Maybe because I was so horrified when the towers came down, that my first thought was, “Oh, Thank God they got everyone out in time…” Because of course they had to get everyone out. My mind would not wrap itself around the reality that they didn’t get out in time.
Maybe because I was so paralyzed with fear that I kept Devin home from school and I didn’t go to work that day or the next few days after… I was doing an internship with the Mayor’s office and I was terrified at the thought of going into a government building like city hall.
I don’t know. Maybe this entire post is more for me than for anyone else. Maybe it’s a reminder for me to remember that there isn’t a single breath in my body that is promised to me… That there isn’t a single moment with a friend or loved one that is guaranteed not to be the last… I need to keep my priorities straight.
And I need to never forget any of that.