Saturday, September 11, 2010

A moment of silence

September 11, 2001. 2752 people died just at the trade center. My family is all safe. We were safe then, we are safe now. We are safe because of the soldiers and civilians who fight for our freedom. Some of them die, but they fight for our freedom. Because "A man can stand up." (James Otis, the book Johny Tremain). A man can stand up, and here, in this country he does. She does, we all do.
On September 11, 2001 it was daylight in Germany-I do not remember the time because I had no clock. I was wearing a blue dress, Tad was wearing a diaper and a t shirt. He had learned to walk. I was on the couch in our little sparse apartment, Tad was playing with blocks. My door wasnt locked, and the neighbor woman burst in crying, sobbing incoherently. She was my friend, but I had never seen her cry at all. I remember standing and looking at her while she turned on the TV. She picked up Tad, as if she needed to hold something. The channel that was on was an AFN channel and there were the twin towers. One was partially destroyed. I was confused and thought, this isnt funny. It cannot be a joke. Surely its a joke. There was another plane. It wasnt a joke. Who could have thought it was of course.
For hours, we stood in front of our little television. We were riveted and crying silently. I remember that she held my hand. That she didnt put Tad down. That he didnt cry. I remember the way the air felt, the way the potato seller outside sounded as he yelled his wares as if our entire world wasnt crumbling around us. I remember the feeling of Shauna's hand. For hours, our hands just hung together. I wanted my mama. I wanted to move to Switzerland. And above all, I felt guilty relief that my husband wasnt in that building. I felt selfish, I felt scared and angry for the people that were in, those who were still alive. Those who jumped out. The plane that went down later because the people in it, the American people stood up.
My children cry on September 11. Each year, they shed a little tears. We talk about it. We go over it again. I tell them the same story I told you. I always think of Shauna, the neighbor. I wonder why Tad didnt cry that long day. Why was he so silent, why didnt he have any needs. I am thankful today for the American soldier. I am thankful that mine is home. Today he came home for 1 month of training. It was a long month. And I love that he came home today.
Today as we drove from post with him, there was an elderly man on an overpass. He had a flag stuck in the ground so it stood tall, and with his arms he held another, a flag on a heavy pole and waved it back and forth. Frank honked his horn and we waved. That man was having his moment of silence. He likely served our country in some war. He likely saw his comrades die, he likely lived years without his family and possibly came home to a poor reception.
Do not forget September 11. Do not forget the lives that were lost, do not forget to be thankful that you have the ones you love. If you pray, pray for the families who lost, who will lose.

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