On 9/11/2001, a full ten years ago, I was in California. I was asleep in my bed on a brightly lit morning in LA. I can still feel the warm sun of that morning filling every corner of the room. It amazes me that I can remember the details as if it were yesterday. I cannot remember the day before or the day after but I remember that day.
On the West Coast, people were just starting to wake up. On the East Coast the work day was well on its way. My daughter came into my bedroom and told me I should get up because there was something on television that was important. I shrugged off her first call, not wanting to interrupt a drowsy slumber. But when she came in a second time a few moments later, her tone was more desperate. "Mom, get up and come see this."
The TV was blaring at that early hour as I lumbered into the living room wondering what could be so important. Then I saw it. I remember staring with disbelief. What is that, I thought. Why are they playing that scene over and over. What are they saying. Is that a movie. I have never seen anything like that--and I hope I never will again-- anything anywhere near like that.
My daughter had to go off to college class, leaving me staring at the TV screen, totally stunned, and my mind still not wanting to accept this reality. The pictures were so much like a movie.
I had to get ready for work but I sat there for quite some time listening to the events as they happened, one by one rising like some crescendo--the buildings, people jumping out of buildings, my mind denying what it was watching, the Pentagon, the crash in Pennsylvania, and then the impossible: 2 buildings completely collapsing.
I was safely 3 thousand miles away and I was watching people I didn't know inside those buildings and people one second away from the terror, some losing their lives.
I saw the disbelieving look on the faces of people in NYC, that great city, that no one could visit without loving some part of it. The people of NYC, one community of people who had something in common--their love of that city and their love for humanity. You couldn't live there or visit there without feeling it was a city different from all others. That humanity was struck on that day, 9/11.
We don't just remember the horror of that day, we remember the love of so many--the unselfish giving of ones lives for others, the helping of others, as well as the awful selfishness of those who took lives away forever and caused so much pain.
That is why when we think of 911, we think of the light coming from the terrible darkness of that day.
God bless America.