Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day of New Beginnings 9/11

On this day seven years ago, my oldest child started his first day of kindergarten. It was a milestone for him, and for me too. It started out as any other day, except I insisted taking lots of pictures of him in his uniform before we headed off to his school. It was a short day for the kindergartners, so when I picked him up a few hours later at 10:30, all of the parents were still blissfully unaware of the tragedy unfolding in our nation that day. I am sure that if someone had known, it wouldn't have been kept quiet. It was when I got home, turned the key in the lock and walked in the door when a neighbor shouted at me to turn on the TV. I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams what I saw next. How did we get from a happy, tranquil, first-day-of-kindergarten blue-sky day, to seeing horrifying images on television of burning buildings, with the moment of impact of the second plane replaying over and over while listening to the shocked news anchors trying to make sense of it for us. It was beyond surreal.

The very first thing I did was call my dad, which was my way of checking to see if all was right in my world. I needed to hear his voice and hear some reassurance that everything was going to be o.k. After we spoke, I fell to my knees and prayed a rosary for the people on the planes and in the buildings. I knew that the world as we knew it was never going to be the same. I remember later that day, going to the ACME supermarket and encountering other people looking as shell shocked as I felt. It was difficult to imagine life ever returning to normal. I remember going to my church and praying, it seemed so many people found comfort in churches across the country.

It was a day of new beginnings, but not in the way I would have liked to remember. I would like to remember 9/11/2001 only as the day my oldest son started kindergarten, a day that commemorated this big moment for him. My baby growing up. However, this special day of ours will always be intertwined with the day that will be known in history as the day of infamy for all Americans. I wish it wasn't so. Life seemed so simple and innocent, and all that changed in an instant. I wondered what kind of world my kids would be growing up in.

Since that day, so much has changed in our lives. My husband graduated from his post-secondary program and began a new career in anesthesia. We had a baby daughter. We have moved twice. My oldest son started seventh grade this year. This year, the seventh anniversary year of 9/11, my daughter started kindergarten. I couldn't help but think back to that day not that long ago, when my son was starting his first day and all that would transpire. I know for me, and for many, life eventually got back to a new normal. But it will never be the same.

I wish I had the foresight to photograph all the flags from those early days post 9/11. At the time, we lived in Philadelphia. There wasn't a residence or place of business anywhere in the city it seemed that didn't have a flag displayed. I could kick myself for not taking a picture, for not video taping all the displays of patriotism, but all I have are the snapshots in my memory. It was an incredible sight to see all those flags waving proudly, a nation standing together in a time of turmoil.

Today we again stand and recall those events, never to be forgotten by anyone who was there to witness it.

Remembering all those who lost their lives on 9/11/2001.


Moody said...

Oh gosh, what a memorable day for you! I remember too wondering what kind of world our kids would grow up in and kind of panicking.

On that day we had a forest fire raging near us (and all the week following) and we were on evac standby. The big tanker planes would fly low and make a turn right over our house to dump their loads on the fire and watching the coverage of the airplanes crashing into the buildings over and over, and then having airplanes fly over and shake my entire house, really kind of freaked me out! I was a wreck for a good two weeks.

And we definitely need to always remember!

Christine said...

I also have a 12 yr old son this year who just went into the 7th grade. Sounds like you and I had a lot in common on 911.