Choosing Remembrance

It’s been nine years since the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington DC that left our nation, and the world, shocked and horrified. Sometimes, it seems like it happened just yesterday.  In all that time, I can’t recall ever writing about it.  Today, I choose to change that.

Thousands died on that awful day.  I watched much of it live on TV.  I had just moved to Elmira, NY.  I lived far from the impact sites.  Still, electronic media brought it much too close.  I sat next to my wife on our couch in our newly rented apartment.  Our rental agent stood nearby.  A repairman who had been working on the apartment quietly sat on the arm of the couch.  I don’t remember either of their names.  Like many others, we shared a morning that is seared into my brain.

Afterward, I remember walking outside and looking up at a bright blue sky. An empty sky.  All air traffic grounded.  I think even the birds chose not to take flight.  The tranquility of the day was in stark contrast to the smoke and chaos that I knew existed at the Pentagon, at the World Trade Center site, and in a field in Pennsylvania.

More recently, I took in the view of the Pentagon in the photo below.  It happened to be another crisp, clear September day.  And my first reaction to seeing the huge building and phenomenal view was, “I wonder what it was like to see the attack on the Pentagon from here?”

To this day, I can’t look into a clear blue sky without a quick reminder of that day.

When that happens, I find it helpful to take a moment for prayer and remembrance.  I choose not to forget that day, but I will not dwell on the horror.  I choose to remember the positives of that day.  The many heroes. The unity it brought.  I choose to honor our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have gone into battle as a result of that day.

That is my remembrance.  What is yours?

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  1. springtimesoul

     /  September 11, 2010

    I had a wise high school hisotry teacher who gave us the assignment of asking our parents where they were when they heard about Pearl Harbor. He told us that they would remember it in specific detail, and he was right. We students remembered in detail where we were when we learned that President Kennedy had been killed. Likewise, I now remember in great detail the morning I stood with a mixed group of hospital employees in the physicians lounge and watched slack-jawed as the cameras showed the plane fly into the second tower. I will never forget.

  2. Wade you have articulated EXACTLY how I felt about the clear blue silent day. I remember telling my husband that the birds were even quiet. We sat outside for an hour just to get away from the TV for a little bit because we were glued to it. That was the only day I can ever remember not seeing one HINT of a cloud in the sky. No white whatsoever. I got out of the swing and started searching the sky for it. I too associate a perfect blue sky with 9/11. Great post Wade.

    • Thanks Alicia. I’ve always felt a little strange to associate the clear blue sky with the day. Glad to know that I’m not the only one.


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