It is pretty rare that just a date on a calendar says it all. But just about every American living at the time, old enough to understand , knows exactly what 9/11 means. On September 11, 2001, four jet liners were hijacked by suicide bombers who crashed two of them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the last was diverted, thanks to Americans on the plane, to a field in Pennsylvania, where it crashed killing our heroes on board.
Most of us also remember exactly where we were when we first either saw or heard of the horrific events via television or possibly radio. For some of us old enough to remember the JFK assassination, that too was a horrible event in our history that most people define by where they were, what age they were etc. when they first heard about it. Although young, I remember distinctly I was in chorus and our teacher, a Dominican nun, came in to class in tears. She offered no explanation but then the head nun got on the school p.a. system with that towering voice and told the whole school. We got the next day off and at my house the TV was on all day (rarely allowed) and that is when I saw Jack Ruby on live TV kill Lee Harvey Oswald. Today I barely remember what I had for breakfast but I remember that as if it was yesterday and I was just a kid.
On the morning of 9/11 my husband and I had just gotten back from an RV trip to meet up with my son and his wife and the grand-kids in Omaha at a state park. It was about a nine-hour drive for us and I slept a little later than usual. My husband the early riser yelled up the stairs for me to turn on the TV. That was an odd statement for him and his voice sounded urgent so I quickly turned it on. Like everyone, including those reporting on the event, I was in shock. I then saw the second plane enter the field of vision on the screen and like everyone else–it became painfully obvious that this was no accident. It truly was terror in the skies.
I have once again been watching TV all day today, starting with the 10 year memorial ceremony in New York at ground zero. It was a well thought out ceremony and the memorial itself is a beautiful sight with the water fall pools and over 2900 names etched in bronze but it was a hard watch. Seeing the children born after their fathers perished was the hardest. Watching loved ones take pictures of the etched names, kiss the names and cry on the names was just such an emotional experience I couldn’t put the tissue box away. I can’t even imagine what these survivors had to go through over the last 10 years but in my eyes they are all heroes.
I am Irish and when the bagpipers started to play at the ground zero ceremony I couldn’t help but think of deceased family members of my own who always had bagpipes played at their wakes. And just like the countless Irish wakes I’ve attended, barely a dry eye was evident at the 9/11 memorial, as everyone witnessed the two weeping waterfalls in the exact footprint where the twin towers once stood.