Thursday, September 11, 2008


I am sure Blogland is lit up with everyone's story of that day, 7 years ago. Some will be first hand experiences - right there in the eye of the storm. In a front row seat to one of the most devastating historical events of our existence here on this land we call the US. Some will be reminded of the circumstances for which they heard the news.

But we all share one thing in common. We all survived the events, and have all lived with the ramifications. Heightened security everywhere we travel. Passport laws preventing us from visiting our neighbors without proper documentation. Paranoia over skin color, religion and attire. Prejudice and damnation without justification. A war that seems to never end. Oil prices that climb, and the need to become more fuel independent (this I think would have happened even if 9/11 hadn't).

Nothing will ever be the same.

I have three very distinct memories of that day.

I remember driving into the parking lot at work and hearing about the "accident" of the first plane. No one in the office had yet heard. Within a few moments of starting the conversation someone shouted "another plane hit the other tower". The rest of the day was spent in front of a television.

My best friends family was on a plane from MPLS to Pennsylvania that morning to attend a funeral. When we heard a plane crashed there too I was beyong consolable. Their plane had been delayed leaving the airport here for mechanical reasons, and once finally in the air, was one of the many planes that was forced to ground early. They spent 3 days in Ohio too afraid to go any closer to NY.

My mother by this time was near the end of her time on earth. Most days she was comatose, non respondent any more than a watchful eyes, wimpers and throat clearing. No voice from which to speak. But on this morning, the news that was in front of her brought something back - if only for a few moments. It would be one of only two times in the next three weeks that I would hear her voice (the last time was the night she died).

My grandmother sat watchful by my mothers side from nearly the moment we found out she would not survive this time. I think it gave them both some peace. It healed some wounds. It provided a mother time to grieve for her daughter, and a daughter to accept love that she had long thought had faded. It also gave my mother a voice that day.

As I was in the middle of making panicked phone calls looking for my best friends whereabouts I was interrupted by my assistant telling me that my grandmother was on the phone, and she sounded upset. I remember thinking to myself, oh God, please not now. I am not ready and I am already emotionally worn. Don't let today be the day I remember for the rest of my life as her last day on earth.

My grandmother was distraught, but not because my mother was worse, more because my mother was speaking. And she was unconsolable. She was worried about Bruce. Bruce was in the Army - working at Holman Field in St. Paul - with Blackhawk helicopters. First responders to anything local that needed military aide. She was afraid he was going to war and she would never see him again. She was the first person I heard that day mutter that word.... "War". The one person I thought I would never hear speak was the one that first put that notion into my mind. I tried for quite some time to make her understand he would not leave her. Not now. But she needed to see it, feel it, know it.

Bruce was unreachable that day - for obvious reasons - so I left work and sat by her side waiting for his call. He showed up late that night. You could see the worry on his face. I knew it wasnt for himself, but rather for his fellow soldiers. He reassured her he was ok, and he wasn't leaving her. At peace with it, she settled back into her silence.

Eventually his men left. He retired right before they did.
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