Sunday, September 11, 2011

a day of remembrance

Ten years ago today. It was a Tuesday morning, one week after school had started. Tall Son, whose name is Jakob, in 6th grade middle school; Crafty Girl, Annemarie, a 4 -year -old in her pre-K/K class. Dear Husband, John, a special ed teacher. They are all safely tucked away at their respective schools.

I'm on the sofa, watching the Today show with Katie Couric. Usually, I never watch morning or daytime TV. But exactly one week before, I had undergone emergency hysterectomy surgery and I was camped out on the sofa for several weeks to come. The next segment was supposed to be an interview with Tracy Ullman, but then Katie Couric came on and said they are interrupting the regularly scheduled program to report some major news.

We all know what happened after that, and our world was never the same.

Shortly after the first plane hit, I called my sister. While we were on the phone, the second plane hit, and she screamed into the phone - A second plane hit! I didn't believe it and told her they are just showing repeats of the same footage of a plane hitting the World Trade Center. Of course I was wrong.

All morning I watched in disbelief. The reporters were making calculations about the buildings, whether they were built to withstand such impacts and explosions. Unable to move from my spot, I kept hoping that the towers would remain standing...worrying about where they would fall and how many other buildings they would take with them.

Meanwhile, as it turned out, my husband and son, at their respective schools, were watching on television. Tall Son tells me he didn't understand the implications at the time. At my daughter's elementary school, the teachers took turns watching the events in the teacher's lounge, breaking down and comforting each other, pulling themselves together before returning to their classrooms. The little ones were safe, unaware of their teacher's anguish, and I credit them to this day that my pre-schooler at the time was not traumatized.

I have since been down to Ground Zero, gazed into the pit. I've met people who've lost loved ones and co-workers. I've watched ceremonies year after year, lit candles when the names were read.  My incision has healed, a narrow line of a scar now. I realize today, watching the 10th anniversary memorial ceremonies, that there are some wounds that never ever heal. They hurt a bit less, but we are aware of their presence, and we live with them as best we can.

And I'm still finding out remarkable acts of friendship and caring, like the one about Gander, Newfoundland.

Friends brought us dinner when I had fallen ill so suddenly and my husband was stuck with two kids, a new schoolyear, and a wife in the hospital. 10,000 people in a small Canadian town housed 6,500 airline passengers. The two events cannot of course be compared by any stretch of the imagination, but they boil down to this: all we can ever do is be there for each other.

May you have a peaceful day today.


  1. Beautiful post, Karin. Thank you.

  2. Well said. I, too, was watching The Today Show, not being due at work till 1 or 2. I remember feeling like the ground was shifting beneath my feet.


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