No picture, today. If you really need to see one, they're all over the net and my pictures are in my heart. At first, I didn't want to write about that day but came to realize that it's a catharsis of sorts and sharing could help. Is there anybody who doesn't know what they were doing on 9/11/2001? I'm sure there are some, but most of us do.
For me, it was just another Tuesday and I was at league bowling. Our lanes have televisions just above the bowlers' section for folks to follow special events and to entertain non-bowlers. You can't miss them. Even if it's your turn to bowl. They're right there, in front of you, until you've entered your approach. Some of us saw what looked like a movie of the first tower being hit and couldn't believe it was real. But, then, we stopped talking to focus on what we now realized was a real broadcast with newscasters who, themselves, were very much in shock. Something was very wrong. They were looping a replay of an airplane flying into the first tower and we had just about decided that it was just a tragic accident when they switched back to live TV and we watched a second plane intentionally strike the second tower; and our lives changed.
We all felt the shock -- the anger -- no, the rage. How dare they, whoever they were? Was this just the start of -- what? Were there more assaults on the way? And, then, I remembered that my daughter was attending her very first business travel meeting in New York -- in one of the Towers, and I couldn't remember the time...
At 9:33a.m. the owner of the bowling alley told me that I had a phone call and I could use the phone at the desk. I was so confused, I couldn't imagine who would be calling me. I was one of the lucky ones, that day. It was my daughter. They had actually met the afternoon before, but were trying to get to a morning flight at the airport when the attack happened and, instead, their entire group was rerouted and driven to New Jersey to meet cars that would be driving them back to NC. She just knew that she had told me they were meeting in the Twin Towers and wanted me to know that she was safe and would be home in a day, or so. It was then I started trembling. She was all I had left in my little family and the full impact of the horror of the attack and the possibility of losing her began to assault my system, and I couldn't stop shaking. I was not alone. We all had to sit for awhile before we finished our bowling with very little talking. None of us played anywhere near our usual game. We just wanted it over so we could get home and make sure all our loved ones were safe. Shortly after her call, most of the phone lines to NYC were jammed or no longer working in that area and I sympathized with those who had to wait for news.
Watching so many families in pain, posting photos of their missing, realizing husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, friends, would not be coming home, made my moment seem so insignificant by comparison. And, yet, it struck me to the core. These are the times when we want the comfort of family around us, where we want to be able to count every loved head in our world and can't rest until we know for sure that they are safe.
As we all know, the news didn't get any better, that day, as more reports came in from other attack sites. We felt the fear of what would be next? how were we going to get even? Where would the next attack be? We discovered heroes within the chaos. It was a terrible time and we were all hungry for retaliatory blood. I discovered that I'm really not a nice person, after all. I don't think vicious, cruel, arrogant, self-entitled people (regardless of how much money they have) should be allowed to do what they want, simply because they can. Ossama didn't care about the people working in the towers who came from all over the world and I wanted our guys to bomb that mountain where he was hiding. I still do.
We've lost too many more of our fathers, brothers, cousins, friends, so that we could fight a nice clean war (What the hell is that?!?) because we're good people. Well, all of America is, except me. They hid that man who killed so many. They knew where he was and did nothing. In my mind, that's the enemy. I didn't like what the mirror showed me of myself, then, and wish I could change. My heart just isn't big enough. And, should the unthinkable (well, thanks to OBL, we can't say that, anymore) happen, again, my feelings would be the same.