Thursday, September 11, 2008

September Eleventh


Five years ago today, I was holding my littlest brother for the first time. He was pink and adorable, Sunday’s child. We all doted on him and I couldn’t wait to get the chance to coo over him in the blank expanse of my journal.

Two days later, I still hadn’t.

I am sure that day is etched in everyone’s minds. Where they were. What they were doing.

It was a beautiful September day. Blue skies…blue skies on that day, of all days. Sunshine. A new baby brother to cherish, just two days old and the world falls apart. He’ll never know what the world was like before. Before, before, before.

He will remember it after.

Mom was on the couch, the baby was in his seat, asleep. The kids were playing on the back porch and I was folding laundry. The washing machine was on the fritz and Dad and Andrew had gone out to the laundrimat. I was sighing over the laundry; it was a white load and I hated white loads.

And then, the phone rang. It was Dad. Turn on the TV, he said. We still had the bunny ears then and could get in one channel out of Albany, NY. Turn on the TV, he said. A plane hit the World Trade Center. It was all over the news on the radio.

We turned on the TV. Just as the screen and Good Morning America came on, we saw smoke billowing from that first tower. And then, right before our eyes, the second plane hit the second tower.

“Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” Those words said by Diane Sawyer are etched in my mind for ever. Oh, my God. Oh, my God…

“That is no accident,” my mother said. The phone was still in her lap, the baby still asleep in his seat. How could one fold socks and towels on a day like this? We prayed; prayed for the people in the buildings, for the firefighters and all emergency personnel.

Mom called our grandparents, certain that they were likely still in bed and unaware of what was going on our country. My pepere was in the Air Force before he retired. My memere answered the phone and although she believed Mom, Pepere couldn’t believe it.

At that moment, the third plane hit the Pentagon. I could not believe it and rushed to tell Mom who was in the next room. “Mom, Mom, another plane just hit the Pentagon.”

“Turn on the TV, right now, Mom,” my mother said, her voice shaking even more, as she turned to look at the television. “Another plane just hit the Pentagon. TURN IT ON NOW.”

A family friend who lives in New Jersey worked in NYC. We couldn’t get a hold of him that day. Was his office nearby the World Trade Center?

And then the towers fell. Right before our eyes, on the television, they fell. It was surreal. It was awful. And I didn’t cry.

Where was our president? Would the White House be next?

Baby sitting in the sunshine of the afternoon. Sun still shone. How could the sun shine? How could the children still play space garbage outside? The door slammed, the baby cringed in his sleep at the noise and Dad spoke sharply to whoever it was who slammed the door. People stopped by to see the baby, but talked about the World Trade Center. Supper? I probably ate, but I don’t know what. I rocked the baby’s seat with my foot and journaled.

This is one of the most awful days of my life. This morning, a little before nine, a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. About ten minutes later, another airplane crashed into the second tower. …one of the towers collapsed. This was at about 10 AM…Twenty minutes later, the second tower literally crumbled. They said that possibly around 50 thousand people could be dead in and around the World Trade Center…Nobody expected an attack, not in this way. Nobody expected two planes to crash into the World Trade Center.

Little Nate didn’t even get a mention in my journal that day; I just couldn’t write it.

Our president, our president…not yet a year in office. He spoke and it was to every American.

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
Thank you. Good night, and God bless America.

Arabs dancing in the streets…dark skies lit up by bombs somewhere in the Middle East. “President Bush wouldn’t attack so quickly, would he?” I asked.

My dad shook his head.

Days afterwards, the skies were smoky and gray towards the direction of New York. “From New York,” my mother said quietly in reply to my query.

“This far?”

I didn’t cry.

The skies were quiet and it felt strange. Quiet…an unsettling quiet without peace. Not a single plane in the air.

One of the planes that hit the World Trade Center left Logan Airport in Boston, just two hours from our house by car.

Later I learned that that same plane probably changed course right above our area. Right above our town, perhaps.

A low-flying airplane was enough to make my chest tighten in the days following. I’m more used to it now, but now and then, now and then.

Flags everywhere. United we stand, we said. Americans were mad. They were shocked, stunned and would stand united together. We’ll never forget, we said.

I don’t think anyone who lived during 9/11 and was old enough to fully grasp the events of that day is going to forget.

Five years later, my baby brother is a little boy. After 9/11, several people commented how much of a blessing he must be to us, to have a baby, a thing of joy, during this time.

Natey is our 9/9/01 baby. Ninth child, on the ninth day of the ninth month. And two days older than 9/11.

And he is a joy, a blessing. Life in the midst of death. Hope. A comfort. There is nothing more comforting than a baby’s cuddle, his smile, his scent, even his tears.

And even though your biggest sissy is quiet today and will probably cry, happy birthday, Natey, my Spunkyboy. I love you.

Today, I cry.

- written September 9, 2006


Valerie September 11, 2008 at 12:49 PM  

I still have a wild imagination about planes going over. And we have a LOT of planes going over, all the time.

I remember reading this when you first wrote it, Krista. It's still an emotional thing to read.

Rebecca September 11, 2008 at 1:49 PM  

i cry too, Krista. Thank you!

Eleree September 23, 2008 at 9:28 AM  

Oh thank you!! This is an amazing post.... you are an amazing writer. Who can forget? I too remember that awful day, the phone telling us to turn the T.V. on.

May you be blessed now and forever,


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