Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What can you say?

I'm not the sort of "me too" person who has to comment on current events. As I was reading a blog out there in the nether worlds today someone posed the question of why should there be a big deal about September 11 in their hometown in Florida.

We all have our memories of the tragedy that happened in New York in 2001. I think it's important to remember the event to honor the people who lost their lives. I do think it is wrong to commemorate it as some national knee jerk response.

Today I am reminded of my own very small personal experiences. I remember being woken up at my brother's house where Lyle and I were staying. Lyle's mother was trying to find him to make certain he was on the ground and not flying anywhere. I recall being so groggy and not understanding what was happening, then being sick to my stomach and trying to avoid any mention of what was going on as the news channels played and replayed footage for hour upon hour.

Having friends in Manhattan and being unable to locate them, the e-mail tree went up and the first to get contact would spread the word to the rest of us worrying far away.

One good friend worked across the street from teh World Trade Centers. He arrived late to work. His tale is as horrifying to me now as it was then and I try to block it out of mind.

His birthday was two weeks later and I announced that I would be coming to New York to see him. Not for him as much as for me. I NEEDED to SEE him. To know he was alive and in one piece. I needed to (s)mother him.

The whole time I was there I chatted, nattered and took care of him, fixing up parts of his new apartment that weren't done yet. Trying my best to ignore what had happened before my arrival.

I remember coming out of a restaurant in Chinatown and the wind suddenly shifting and getting a smell of something that smelled like burnt metal, rubber and fuel mixed with some other awful undefinable smell. When we realized it was the wreckage of the World Trade Center, I took hold of my friend's hand and we walked as fast as we could back to his apartment.

I kept it together throughout my visit and knew my friends in Manhattan would all survive. They had a great support between them all and a thirst for living life that survivors tend to get.

When I got home I cried for three days. The one thing that stood out in my mind were the makeshift memorials of "missing" posters with photos of loved ones lost in the tragedy. Everyday pictures of people at a barbecue, at their desk, holding pets, young, old all "missing".

There is no tidy ending to this post. I don't believe a national observation every year across the country is the most appropriate response. I believe our government still has some answering to do on the topic of those who survived and how they are being taken care of. And I also think that each and every one of us can take a moment and reflect, remember and honor those who lost their lives on September 11.