9/11/01. Another irony. Now a longtime resident of Massachusetts with dreams well under way — a small company, a wonderful young family in Topsfield. 9/11 finds me in New York City on business, a few miles north of downtown. As the car radio talks of early reports of perhaps a light plane hitting the north tower on that bright blue morning, I, along with others, stop to see the plume of black smoke billowing across the East River and wonder. Then my unforgettable memory as the huge orange ball of flame from the south tower explodes outward, from what we would later learn was the impact of the second plane. Eventually, the crumbling of the towers as seen still from a distance and the realization of what had happened led me to realize that our lives had been changed forever. Anger, pain, retribution. So many lives lost that day and by our gallant military in the years since.
9/11/11. Ring our bells. Remember our losses. Rebuild our towers. Rekindle our optimism in our nation — in honor of all of our immigrant ancestors and in hopes for the futures of our children.
I do not have a dramatic memory, but a simple one that I think of often.
I had carpool duty that morning, dropping off middle-school kids in a long line of other moms who were rushing off to the next part of their day. Little did any of us realize that we would be picking them up in a much different world. When I returned later on that half-day, the usual long line of cars was even longer, and one of the first things I noticed was the more than usual number of dads.
There was also an eerie silence in the crowded parking lot. ... Sad looks were exchanged, but we all seemed focused on the same thing ... standing outside our cars, waiting, searching for a glimpse of our children. Although we were far from the physical destruction, for some reason I had an odd feeling of relief when I saw the faces of those kids. Adding to the great sadness for all who lost lives and loved ones on that day was the sadness that I felt looking into the faces of these children, knowing they had no idea how the world they lived in was now changed forever.