Monday, September 11, 2006

Day of mourning.

The phone rang very early this morning and woke me up. It was only a telemarketer (grrr), but once I climbed back into bed, I thought about the phone call that pulled me out of bed exactly five years ago today.

On September 11, 2001, I was getting over the flu and had slept in. I heard the phone ring downstairs and padded down to hear Todd's voice on the answering machine: "Turn on the TV. I called Mary and John is okay."

John was our friend who was a United flight attendant flying out of Boston at the time. I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't be okay, until of course I turned on the TV and tried to make sense of the chaotic scene I saw. The rest of the morning is a blur. The one thing I remember vividly is calling Todd after the second tower fell and my voice failing as I realized I had just seen thousands of people die.

Apart from being concerned about our friend, and having to reschedule the trip to Connecticut we had planned for that weekend, Todd and I weren't directly affected by what happened on September 11. We didn't have friends or family in New York or at the Pentagon or on Flight 93. Life went back to normal pretty quickly for us, apart from watching the news every night and feeling the grief of all those people searching and searching for their loved ones.

This September 11, I won't be seeking out any news programs re-living the day. I don't even think I'll seek out any news programs that may track where our country has come since that day. I know all too well where we've a world that seemed unthinkable to most of us on September 10, 2001.

We're embroiled in a general war on terror and a specific war in Iraq, both of which devolved disappointingly quickly into a political tug-of-war, fought by leaders we can't trust. Sinister Arab faces and names are a staple of our news now. The blithe conviction that we were the most-beloved country in the world is gone, and so many tiny things we took for granted have changed as well. Some of still cringe when we hear a low-flying plane.

Well, I'm not telling anybody anything new. We all know the world changed. Most days we muddle along doing what needs to be done and don't think too hard about war or terrorism or the people who would gladly see us dead. This is a good day to think about think about where we go from here and to remember the people who didn't get to see this strange new world.