Everyone says it every year. "I remember exactly where I was when..." And ten years later I still do. The image is crystal clear. But yesterday I climbed in my car after a beautiful late summer afternoon at the beach in Narragansett with a dear friend. The kind of afternoon full of barefoot walks and wave jumping that makes you want to hold tight to late summer sun and fight off cooler temperatures waiting in the wings.
On my radio was NPR. "Ten years later, what people were doing the day before 9/11 2001" the narrator said. I certainly have no clue. One man, Rob Quillen, began his story :: Rob, " from Omaha, Nev., was a software salesperson on Sept. 10. He was on a flight to New York City for an annual sales meeting. On the flight, Quillen sat next to a man who asked him if he worked for NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon. Quillen was wearing a NASCAR T-shirt. Quillen said he was just a very big fan of the guy. The man said that he and his son were also huge fans.
Later in the flight, the man told Quillen his 15-year-old son had epilepsy. And he had recently asked his son to tell him a place where he wanted to go. His son had said, "I want to go to a NASCAR race and I want to meet Jeff Gordon," Quillen says. Quillen says he had a couple of extra tickets for the first NASCAR race at the Kansas Speedway — so he offered the man the two tickets. When they exchanged business cards, it turned out that the man was United Captain Jason Dahl. That next morning, Dahl piloted United Flight 93 — the one that crashed in Shanksville, Pa. But Dahl's son, Matt, did get to see his race car hero in Kansas City. Quillen made sure of that. " (taken from NPR website).
And as quick as he could tell this story, I burst into tears. I don't remember the last time I burst into tears like that, but I was caught off guard and it hit hard. Ten years later we might not get the same chills every day when we see our flag, or carry the same immediate sadness on our shoulders as we walk around New York City. We might not be skiddish that every flight or tall building means eminent death, but this event, this tragedy is still so ever present in all of our hearts and all of our lives. The impact of this 100 word story reminded me of that. Time makes things more bearable, but it does not erase the past.
As with every year my heart and prayers are with those that lost their lives, those that lost their loved ones, and those that watched mass murder from their offices and schools. As with every year, I don't forget who did this to us, or that there are those that would do it again in a heartbeat. As with every year, I go back to this article from the Miami Herald, and am reminded of why I'm so proud to be an American every day of my life.
[Image, same as last year is my favorite print from Beauchamping on Etsy]
*Since 9/11 is a Sunday, Im leaving this up for Monday. See you Tuesday. xx
Labels: NYC Culture