It's not about me. It's about those who truly lost. Who lost their lives. Who lost family. Who lost their sense of security. It's about those who lost the innocence. Those who lost the trust their neighbors once had for them. Those who are judged terrorists not based on their own actions, but on the actions of a minority group from the same area of the world. It's about those who can never live their lives the same again. So I don't want to say alot. But I want to say something.
It's hard to know exactly how to put into words the feeling this day brings to me. Ten years ago I was a student at my community college. My alarm went off that morning, as it did every Tuesday morning, to the sound of the local Christian radio station. But in my sleepy mind, all I could think was that it was a terrible joke. The new "war of the worlds" (which I had listened to the night before). I hit snooze. Nine minutes later, I thought the same thing, and I hit snooze again. When I got up, I didn't turn on the TV. I didn't tune into another radio station. I got ready for school and got on the bus. It wasn't until I got to my first class that I realized it was real. That planes had flown into the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon. That another had crashed in a Pennslyvania field. That my world might never be the same again. I spent the rest of the day crowded into the college lounge staring at the TV in shock, surrounded by hundreds of my fellow students. Eventually we stopped even the pretense of going to class, all our professors were in the lounge with us.
I didn't lose anyone. I don't know anyone who did. I've never been to NYC. I've never seen or felt the damage. I'm not sure I should say anything, not even this bit.
Right after I took this picture, Nataly turned around and asked me "What are these pictures for?" How do you explain to a four year old? What could I say? I told her as best I could about the bad men who didn't love America and the people who died. She asked me what happened to all the people in those pictures (the pictures are replicas of the missing posters displayed near Ground Zero). I didn't know what to tell her.
The piece of granite Nataly and Nick are touching is a piece of granite from inside the buildings. Nataly wanted to know why they couldn't put it back together. Nick asked me "Why sad Aut Tia?" (he doesn't pronounce N super well). Then he turned back around to touch the granite. "Why broken?" he asked.
We kept the kids out of the listening area. They didn't need to hear those radio calls describing what was happening. They didn't need to see the silent tears rolling down the cheeks of the grown ups in the listening area remembering how we felt on that day. But I couldn't keep them from knowing. No. I wouldn't keep them from knowing. As they touched this piece of steel that once held up a tower, Mandy and I told them, in the most kid friendly terms about that day. The fear, the anxiety, the relief when no plane flew here, into our city and our towers. Nick won't remember touching this steel or learning about 9/11. Nataly will probably only have vague memories. But I'll remember. I will always remember.