Tomorrow is the 10 year anniversary of September 11th. I have heard several people say that no one who has the ability to recollect can forget where they were that awful day. I certainly have vivid memories of that day. In fact, it is as clear to me in this moment, as it was ten years ago.
I was fed up with social work and the daily grind and despair that type of work brings. I was even more fed up with the completely out of control office manager who was intent of ruining my life. So I basically up and quit. First I called a nanny agency and interviewed and got a nanny job. I began the job about a week before September 11th. The job was for two families. Each had a little girl who was 2.5 years old, Sophia and Jordan. Jordan's mom was a law professor at U of Chicago and had to go to Harvard, I think for a couple of weeks, and so they were gone and I was at Sophia's home watching her. This was nice because Sophia's parents lived much closer to me. I remember arriving to their apartment and the news was on for some reason. I find this recollection strange b/c these parent's weren't the kind that allowed their daughter to watch morning news programs(for good reason I might add!) Never the less, it was on and it all started unraveling before us. The first plane had already hit but they didn't know what had gone on and then just as we were watching it happened..a plane flew into the Trade Center. Before out very eyes, hundreds of miles away, the horror began to unfold. Sophia's dad, Michael left for work and I remembered thinking, "Why is he leaving?" I can't keep it together for this little girl who is old enough and verbal enough to know that something is horribly wrong. Now, having known this family for ten years I would certainly be like, "Ahh..no..your not leaving! This type of thing doesn't fall into nanny responsibility!"
He left and I was totally unsure of how to continue. I called Jeff at work, he worked in the city and I couldn't get a hold of him. Then I called my mom and my sister. We were all just trying to get a handle on what had just happened. One thing I distinctly remember is how even the news anchors seemed confused and shell shocked. At one point I began to cry and even though I did my best to try and hide it from Sophia she obviously noticed. She asked me why I was sad to which I responded that some people had made very bad choices and it caused many others to get hurt. A short time later Michael returned home and we talked about how didn't really understand what was happening. For some reason he didn't let me leave which I've never asked him about but at the time I definitely was thinking, "Dude, I want to go home!!" I still hadn't been able to get a hold of Jeff and by this time I was in total panic about it. Plus I had just met Michael and Sophia days earlier and wanted to be around people I could fully feel comfortable crying and generally freaking out around. Michael suggested that we go to the park to fly a kite. Again, I was like.."What the heck!? Fly a kite?!" So we went to the park and did fly a kite. The weather that day in Chicago was exactly the same as in New York, brilliantly sunny. As we walked to the park I noticed how eery the neighborhood felt. Completely still, barely any people were out. I remember as we were flying the kite, an airplane flew over the park. It was then that the tears I was struggling to withhold poured out. Finally Michael told me I could go and I drove home. By this time I had gotten a hold of Jeff and he was back at my apartment. We sat together and watched the coverage. There are certain images and sounds that are burned into my brain from that day. The brilliance of the blue sky, the people roaming the streets of New York covered in dirt and dust and the horrific last calls that were played from people trapped in the Trade Center. Those calls haunted and continue to haunt me. It was a depth of sorrow I have never known.
Ten years later much as changed. The world we lived in pre Trade Center was filled with an arrogance and false sense of security. I remember noticing how everyone, even the most atheist of my friend's, couldn't help but contemplate the possibility of a God. Everyone so desperately wanting to cling to something hopeful. No one wanted to be part of a world that could have such evil in it. The irony is that horrific things had happened to other people but not to us before 9/11 or at least in many minds that is how it seemed. There was certainly a solidarity among mankind and America at large that manifested a glimmer or hope.
Ten years is a long time. I hope that it always feels like it wasn't that long ago. That I am always able to honor those that lost their lives that day and continue to fight for our freedoms and protection.