Nine Years Ago…Around This Time (just before 9AM)…
I remember waking up in my apartment in Virginia because my phone would not stop ringing.
I remember eventually getting up and just missing the last phone call by one ring. Then listening to a friend’s voicemail about how the country was at war and would her husband be drafted.
I remember turning on the television, shrugging my shoulders at my friend’s incoherency.
I remember seeing the Twin Towers on fire. Then flipping the channel. Each channel showed the same image.
I remember wondering if my TV was broken. Then I saw a plane flying toward the South Tower.
I remember blinking. Why is a plane flying so close to the buildings? Why isn’t it changing course? Aren’t there people on the plane? Maybe my eyes were broken. I kept blinking.
I remember seeing the plane fly into building one. I flipped the channels too fast to see anything clearly. The images blurred together and all I saw was a world on fire.
I don’t remember much after that.
I think I called my friend. I think I left messages on my family’s answering machines back home in New York. I think I even tried to get ready for school, only to be sent home.
The bus driver had a news program playing on the radio. Evidently, the Pentagon also had a plane fly into it, too.
Months go by…
I remember in the months that followed, moviemakers were scrambling to cut out any footage of the Twin Towers or any reference to bombs or explosions. I thought they were being silly. Americans were tougher than that.
Then, I watched an action movie on TV, and sobbed at the opening pan shot of the New York City skyline.
I remember the prof of my Advanced Composition class asked if anyone knew the shortest verse in the Bible. I answered, “Jesus wept” then promptly cried.
I remember walking Lower Manhattan with my cousin that winter. We didn’t talk much outside. I don’t know about her, but I couldn’t help thinking that I was inhaling building debris and dead bodies.
I remember the beautiful stories told on the one-year anniversary. The heart broken children who will never know their mother or father. The husband who lost his wife. The wife proud of her husband’s bravery.
Then the years go by…
I remember hearing coworkers wonder why 9/11 was such a big deal.
I remember seeing shrugs and eye rolls.
“Never Forget,” indeed.
More like “We Will Remember”…when it’s convenient for us.
I remember being in a crowd of indifference while I still can’t bear the thought of watching United 93 or World Trade Center.
I look forward to the day when the skyline is whole again. It should be any year now. Believe me, I will take as many pictures as possible, hoping to replace the burning buildings scorched into my mind’s eye.
I remember seeing Fringe last year. The show is a blur of X-Filesian episodes; great action and story, but nothing too outstanding (at least, nothing that hasn’t been done before in that genre.) Then, the finale episode of their first season showed the Twin Towers whole and beautiful, in a universe where they never fell.
I remember how I teared up just seeing the skyline like that in a present world, and not in years gone by. That show has forever won my loyalty.
I remember reading somewhere that the most effective affirmations for changing/sustaining mindset and behavior are written in the present tense, and focusing on what I want rather than what I want to avoid.
This is why I don’t say that I will never forget. I say that I remember.
What do you remember?