It's inevitable that we instinctively think back to where we were at any given minute of that day five years ago ... when we first heard, when we first saw, what we then knew. All those feelings return, all those fears are renewed, all that disbelief is made fresh.
I still can't watch shows and news about September 11th without feeling a total sense of astonishment. No way ... that didn't just happen. But it did. And while I wasn't personally affected, Marc's uncle lost two business partners on one of the first planes. And his boss was in the Marriott at the base of the World Trade Center that morning and had to evacuate with the clothes on his back. Peripheral, but still sobering.
That morning our cable was out, so Henry and I were just puttering around, playing and taking our time getting ready for the day. When Marc called to say a plane had crashed into the Trade Center, like most people I believed it to be some small plane that drifted off course or ran into problems. I immediately thought, "Oh - those poor people!" thinking about those on the affected floors and the firemen who would have to attempt to rescue them. My dad was a fireman for most of my life ... I know the gear they carry and can't imagine having to lug it dozens of flights of stairs and then fight a massive fire.
When Marc called a few minutes later, though, to report the second plane, the journalist in me knew this wasn't a random incident. There's no way it could happen twice accidentally. And suddenly I was pissed off that I didn't have access to CNN. I ran upstairs with Henry, stuck him in front of a video, and then tried in vain to get online to see what was going on. But all the news sites were overloaded and nothing worked.
I called my friend Heather to see if we could go to her house to watch. She had no idea what was happening and said sure, come on over. On the way there, I heard on the radio as the first tower fell, and felt like being sick. I called Marc, at work in a tall financial building downtown, and told him to come to Heather's. I didn't want him there. He said people were already being told to leave the building. Through the stairways.
Together, the three of us watched the second tower fall. And heard about the Pentagon. And the plane in Pennsylvania.
I was so afraid for the future my son would have. He was only 18 months old and I was worried that he would grow up in a world devoid of trust, innocence, peace.
Today, five years later, I still worry about that. Especially since he is a boy. What lies ahead of him? More wars to fight?
And now I have a daughter, who is, ironically, 17 months old. She will never know a world pre-9.11. She was brought into a world that was in full knowledge of the terror and hate and evil that lurks. What will she see in her lifetime? I shudder to think what her "9.11" will be. Worse than the one five years ago? Quite probably. That scares the shit out of me.
As a parent, all you want for your kids is their happiness and safety. Was it selfish of us to have another child, knowing the world into which we were bringing her? Or was having her our sign of hope, our prayer for peace?
I don't agree with Bush politics, I don't completely agree with the war on Iraq. I wonder why bin Laden is still out there, five years later. But I also know that it won't end with him. This is an unwinnable war. And where do we go from here? So many questions, but today I pray for those families who lost loved ones, and for the ones who were lost, and for the ones who survived, and for us all.