No Words For This Day

The air is crisp - and the cloudless sky is the most brilliant blue I've seen in a long time...

That is the day that I woke up to, as I remembered where I was, eleven years ago today...

I was sitting in my classroom, waiting for my first class of the day to begin later in the morning, with the television droning in the background. I stepped out for a moment to check on something, when I ran into a colleague coming out of the elevator saying that a plane had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center.

I made it quickly back to my classroom, and there watched the recap of the news, and then - like millions of others - watched the rest of the events of the day unfolding live, including the second plane hitting and the subsequent crumbling of the towers. It was all so surreal...

From the fourth floor of my school, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, in Georgetown, I could see the flames from the Pentagon. I remember the chaos of those moments and the many rumors that were initially flying around. One of them was that the Capitol had been bombed. Since my son attended Gonzaga College High School a few blocks away, the possibility of this being true was enough to make any mother's heart stop in an instant...

Some of my colleagues had children who worked in or near those towers. Miraculously, every one of them ran late that day. But there were some of my colleagues who did lose friends on that day...

The thing I remember perhaps most vividly - after one of the mothers I worked with managed to communicate with Gonzaga, and gather our sons together for pick up - was driving home in the early afternoon to roads - and most especially the beltway - all eerily empty...

That very morning, my husband was stepping on a plane to return home. But he - like many - never made it home and ended up in a hotel for almost a week...

I have forgotten a lot about that day - but there is a lot I will never forget. When I was young, it was Kennedy's assassination that marked my childhood memories. For my son, it is 9/11. Whatever semblance of innocence he may have had - it was certainly lost on that day...

Today is certainly a time we remember where we where on that day. But more than that, it is a time to remember everyone who lost their lives - and all those who sacrificed theirs attempting to save others...

There are no words for this day...

Just this weekend, I watched the movie "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," about a young boy's loss of his father on 9/11 and the memories of that day came flooding back. The young protagonist could not even verbalize "9/11" and instead referred to this day as "The Worst Day." It was for him.

On this day, let us give thanks for the gift of life. And let us offer prayers for the memories of all who lost their lives and the brave souls who came to their rescue. But let us most especially send our love and blessings to those who remained and whose lives were forever altered on this day...

"If we learn nothing else from this tragedy,
we learn that life is short
and there is no time for hate."
~ Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 Pilot Jason Dahl

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