Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Eve of 9/11

Our son-in-law David is celebrating his birthday tonight. I hope their family party is peaceful. Last night was supposed to be, but someone drove out in front of his mother, who was out on an errand. So David was to and from the hospital and finally followed his dad home to help get his injured mother out of the truck and into their home with her broken foot. Her car and the other car were both totaled, and so were her plans to go to a wedding in Chicago and afterwards stay to visit and help her sister. David is to be best man at this friend’s wedding, and sometime he has to find time yet to acquire a buttercup yellow tie for that occasion since he didn’t get to shop for it as planned last evening. Life has a way of upsetting the best laid plans.

Certainly in 2001, things changed horribly for all America. In addition to the sorrow, fear entered our lives in a new way. David was in Virginia and was not allowed to leave and we worried about him. With Mary Ellen’s family in the Saint Louis area, I wondered if that city might be next. We were building this house, and the building workers listened not to music but to the account on the loud radio they had going; I put up a small flag in the dirt here. Friends from California were at a motel in Marion after our Anna-Jonesboro Class of 1951 reunion, and they came out and we sat for hours in horrified silence watching the television screen at Pondside Farm. Later they were stranded for hours in long lines in the Saint Louis airport trying to get back home while their daughters worried.

Area writers were invited to bring any 9/11 poem, essay, or special memory to Latta Java tomorrow night on this anniversary. One member emailed she could not be there but had thought of William Butler Yeats’ poem soon after the tragedy and returned to it throughout the time of trauma. She sent the link for us:

Another special memory of that day for me was to get an email telling of the birth of little Noah, a baby many in our community had been anticipating. To learn he was here safely was a joyful and comforting message of normalcy and hope. Under different circumstances, I would have been happy, of course. But on that day when the email arrived, I remember the odd mix of elation on top of the horror.

Tomorrow is also our granddaughter Erin’s birthday. At first I was fretful that her special day that meant so much to us was “ruined” in 2001, but I have come to feel that it can never be ruined. She is one of the good things associated with 9/11, and the terrorists could not take that gratefulness away from us.

One of the most impressive things that day and in the days following was the magnificent reaction of the people of New York. The people there disproved any notions we had that cities are cold and uncaring places. I hope that city knows that the thoughts and prayers of the nation are with them tomorrow.

1 comment:

Meg in Tally said...

A sad day, to be sure. We had our automotive shop then with a tv in the waiting area. A friend called to tell me to turn on the tv. I watched in horror as the 2nd plane flew into the other tower.

Within minutes we had a whole slew of folks gathered around our tv (the only one in the complex). All during the day, folks would silently wander in, watch for a while, then just as silently wander out.

We watched the aftermath for days and days. I hope never to see anything like it again.