This will be a quiet day for me…..I was close by and witnessed the tragedy of this day not on a TV screen, but through my eyes. It is recorded in my brain….what I saw, how I felt, the clothes I was wearing…….and the shock of what I saw. It was not until hours later that I realized I saw thousands of lives extinguish. When it happened, somehow your brain thinks they all got out, the buildings were empty…..later, the true horror becomes reality…….When I saw that burning, gaping hole, I knew that Tower would not stand. And when I saw the antenna sway on the roof of the second Tower, I turned to my daughter and said, it is going to fall too………and seconds later, it did. I feared we would not make it home that morning……the police were telling us to get out of there…..Thankfully, we were lucky and made it home, not to safety, I don’t think any of us felt safe that day and not for a long time afterward. A worked with a girl who lost her pregnant friend and her friend’s husband in the Tower. Kids in my town’s school system lost parents. For months after, I could not look up at the sound of a plane flying overhead without cringing. I told my younger daughter, away at college to remain there if anything happened to us, being so close to NYC. I found a farmhouse in Gettysburg, far away, I thought. A place of safety. Then, I realized that Gettysburg is only an hour from Washington, DC. There is no place of safety anymore……..Man has never learned from war …….. I doubt man ever will. That was my second eye witness account of war…….I was close to the Bosnian bombing raids……I watched the bombs drop from the sky like a surreal lightning storm with no rain…….making the night sky glow.
Somehow, I believe what has touched us in the past guides our path in the present. I always felt touched by war, even as a small child. I would steal into my older brothers’ room and snatch war books. Other girls were reading Beatrix Potter, I was reading WWII bomber pilot remembrances. I know that is why my home stands on hallowed ground now.
For all those innocents who rode the subway that morning, grabbed a morning coffee and bagel on their way to work, sat at their desk wondering if they would get their work finished that day, were so happy to be on a flight to home and loved ones……..may you all be in a place of safety and peace now…….forever…….surrounded by the glow of love, not bombs.