“Fourteen”

Fourteen years ago I was a six year old little girl. 

Fourteen years ago the world as I knew it changed forever. 

  
I still remember that day as if it was yesterday.

I remember Dad renting a TV so we could watch as the atrocity unfolded.

I remember sitting in front of it on the hard, wooden boards of our floor, my siblings clustered around me. 

I remember the confusion I felt.

I remember my mother crying as she tried to grasp what was happening (how could this possibly be happening). I remember her crying when she explained to me.

I remember the fear. (so little, and taut with vague fear and dread, even though I’m with Mummy and Daddy.)

I remember the horror as I began to realize that people were dying. (so many people).

I remember watching people jump from the towers in desperation. I remember clutching my fists, unable to believe my eyes. 

I remember turning to Mummy with one simple word: “why?” (Mummy always made everything better.)

I remember being too stunned to even cry.

I remember Mummy holding me and my two younger sisters close as if –thousands of miles away from NY — something could happen to us.

I remember people streaming to churches. 

I remember praying numbly myself, and in my six year old mind not even knowing exactly what to pray.

I remember the stories of heroism and humanity and patriotism that finally made me cry when I couldn’t before.

I remember wanting to donate blood, but not knowing exactly what it meant.

I remember being fiercely proud of my people, my nation, as we banded together and bound up each other’s wounds.

This was my first encounter with horrific tragedy. 

Six years old.

Someone, I can’t remember who, told a story with tears streaming down her face about not remembering to give her Dad a hug that morning. He died two hours later.

For more than ten years after that I hugged my Dad goodbye every morning without fail.

My parents taught me to be thankful, to live life treasuring each moment, savoring every breath.

9/11 drove that lesson home.

May we never, never forget those who died, those who gave their lives to save others, and the thousands who are still affected by September 11th. 

“…. That we here highly resolve that these dead have not died in vain: that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” — Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg address.

“…. I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” — J.R.R. Tolkien


  

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