Posted by Aye on 11 September, 2009 at 5:46 am. 4 comments already!


Eternal Memories from Brad Miller on Vimeo.

The sounds of 9/11

Eight years ago, on a beautiful Tuesday morning in September I was in Savannah, Georgia on business.

As the parking garage elevator descended it stopped on one of the floors below. A gentleman who entered the elevator told us that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. He didn’t have any details, just basic information relayed to him by his wife who had called him on his cell phone.

My first thought was that it had to be some horrible accident. A sightseeing plane was my thought. The horrifying possibility that was eventually revealed as reality never entered my mind.

A little while later the unthinkable news of a second plane came in, again by cell phone.

That was the moment that I realized that our world had changed.

Then news of a third plane. And a fourth.

Through the remainder of the morning we hovered over our computers and our small television set watching, waiting, and wondering.

News reports of missing planes. What will be next?

Confusion. Emotion.

Death. Despair.

Smoke. Fire.

Screams. Tears.

Shock. Horror.

Papers swirling. People fleeing.

Sirens wailing.

Heroes rushing in.

When the first tower collapsed my mind couldn’t comprehend it. When the second one fell, the tears came.

Just before noon I went to pick up my children. Right there in the hallway of the school I gathered the three of them into my arms and hugged them. I wanted to shelter them. I didn’t want the innocence of their childhoods to be stolen away. I just wanted to cling to life as it was that morning when I dropped them off.

I cried. Again.

In literally the blink of an eye, everything was different. We became a nation at war, at first united, then, bitterly and decidedly divided. We became a nation of finger pointing and horrible accusations. The prayer vigils were replaced by protests. The unfurled flags of 9/12 were folded up and put away.

We have become a nation that seems to be loathe to remember what that morning, and the next day, and the following weeks and months were like. The video footage and pictures are not on television anymore as if relegating those things to the bottom bureau drawer will alter the reality of what we all experienced.

I have never been quite the same since that Tuesday morning. Perhaps, much like my children, I had something taken away from me. Perhaps the people who hijacked those planes that day have won a small victory through what they were able to take away from each of us but only if we let them.

I refused to allow them to win. I no longer approach life with the same happy-go-lucky I’ve got all the time in the world attitude that I did on the preceding Monday.

I now grasp each day with vigor, making the most of each and every moment. I strive to never pass up time with my wife or my children. Little things like swimming or fishing or playing frisbee or coloring or wrestling or curling up and reading a book with them are now things that I don’t put off until another time because, as September 11, 2001 taught me, we never know for sure if we’ll have another time.

I made a list of things that I want to experience and things that I want to accomplish. Every time I complete one I add another. Last week I took my first helicopter ride. That was replaced on the list by Shag lessons (my wife’s suggestion).

The people who left home that morning headed for work, or for the airport, or wherever life’s journey was taking them had no idea that they wouldn’t come home again. The things that they put off for another time are now incomplete for eternity.

As I have turned the pages of my desk calendar over these past eight years I was sure that the emotions of that day would have become more and more muted, eventually fading away to a distant memory.

I was wrong.

The feelings are just as raw now as they were. They reside just below the surface waiting to be stirred by the slightest thing. My eyes well up when I see the videos or hear the voices or view the pictures from that day.

Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago. Sometimes, yesterday.

Let us honor their memories. Let us never forget.

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