How many people have these stories? How many people knew those who died or their family members? It reaches out across time and space and affects all Americans. This was not just an attack on our physical selves but our souls. It was meant to break us, meant to make America crumble like those buildings at the World Trade Center; however, that didn't happen. It hardened us, made us stronger and more resolved not to yield, and it changed America forever in ways some of us wish it had not.
So the year has come around again, and we have the inevitable arrival of another 11th day of September. This year it is again on a Tuesday, and it makes me remember that day and the way I went to work, the way we all our started our day. The deceptively tranquil, cloudless sky was "blue all the way to Jesus," as a friend of mine from the South used to say. Kids kissed their parents goodbye, wives kissed husbands, friends waved goodbye as they got off the subway, and we all went on our individual paths.
Everyone likes Tuesday, mostly because it is not Monday. When people parted ways that morning, no one could fathom that it was the last time for so many. Those who entered the Twin Towers or the Pentagon or got on planes did so as part of routines, the practiced routes of their lives that didn't make them think twice. Some rode elevators up high into that blue sky, opened e-mails, made phone calls, or had that buttered roll and coffee before the day began. Then from out of that peaceful powder blue sky came death and destruction. The horror of it never ends because this gets played over again and again in our heads. If only we think, but we know there is no "do over" in life, and that is what we live with year after year after year.
There should be no politics to 9/11, even though those who run for office tend to like to use the day as a means to their ends. We must ignore them for our purpose is not only to mourn the dead but to honor their memories. We must not allow the naysayers to get to us either. Those people who tell us "get over it" will never understand the heft of our sorrow, the depth of our grief, and it is a futile pursuit to try to make them see. As always, we should ignore these types of people and anyone (politicians or others) who tries to gain something from the day.