That awful day.
If you’re at least 20-25 years old, you probably know exactly where you were, what you were doing, maybe even what you were wearing the moment you saw. The moment you knew. I sure do.
I was 4 months pregnant with my son. Standing in the family room, talking on the phone with a friend. Wearing a white t-shirt and maternity jeans. The Today Show was on the television. And I watched live, as the planes hit one by one. I listened as Katie Couric struggled to make sense of the senseless. I called my husband. He was already at work. Back then, at a company in Arlington, just across the Potomac River from the Pentagon. Little did we know.
Hormonal to begin with, I could not stop crying. My daughter, then two-and-a-half, only knew mommy cried. A lot. I asked my husband to come home. He said he’d try. We hung up. Then plane #3 hit the Pentagon. He called me back immediately. Said he could see the smoke from his office. He was leaving right then.
Another plane crashed in Pennsylvania, though we weren’t sure, at first, if it was connected. Everyone in the Washington metro area was evacuating to the suburbs. We have three major airports here – Dulles, Reagan National, and BWI. And we all wondered what would be next.
Rumors abounded of other attacks. A plane headed towards the US Capitol. An attack at the FAA facility in my own town. All false, thankfully. Cell phones were down. I had no way to get in touch with my husband. It took him SIX hours to drive the 45 miles to home. It was mid-afternoon before he finally walked through our door. One of the longest days of my life.
In the days and years since, we’ve seen the constant refrain Never Forget. I always wondered why those words – surely we WOULD never forget? Surely we COULD never forget? Right?
Yet here we are, twelve years later. And our government (both sides) is attempting to align itself with the very people who did this to us. I guess someone, with more foresight than I, saw this day coming long ago. And adopted that slogan. Never Forget.
I always struggle with how to remember. What to DO. How to honor those people who were lost that day. Anything I might do seems inconsequential. Or inadequate. But then I’m reminded, as I often am, of a quote from LOTR. It is one of the my favorite moments from FOTR. And I share it with you now. Today. In honor of them.