Newt is growing so fast. I can’t believe she will have a birthday next month. Is it possible that she is almost one? She won’t be a baby much longer…
It’s about eight in the morning on the west coast, but Walt has not gone into work yet. He is going with me to have our new forward facing car seat correctly installed at the dealership. Right now, he is out on the driveway, cleaning out the car.
I’m inside, in our bedroom, getting Newt dressed for the day. I hear the phone ring and walk over to answer. The caller ID informs me that it is Walt’s mom. I cradle the phone on my shoulder so I have both hands free to snap Newt’s onesie.
Good morning, Bonnie.
Heidi, are you watching tv?
I hear fear in her voice. No. Why? What’s going on?
The Twin Towers in New York were both hit by planes. They have fallen down. America is under attack.
I don’t understand.
What kind of planes? Were they some sort of military plane? Did some country declare war on us? In my mind, all I can imagine are big WWII bombers, flying in formation over New York City.
I don’t turn on the tv. I can’t. I need to tell Walt first. He lived in New Jersey for two years. The World Trade Center was just across the harbor from him. He’ll understand what’s going on…
…but he doesn’t.
The Twin Towers have fallen over? That’s not possible, Heidi. You have no idea how big they are. My mom must have gotten it wrong.
He rushes inside ready to hear the news confirm that the impossible has not happened. To hear them say that it is all a big misunderstanding, that the world has not been turned upside down… I follow behind, holding our baby.
We sit in stunned silence, too shocked to speak, as the images sear themselves forever into our minds. Confusion reigns supreme. It wraps itself like a cloak around the news anchors desperately trying to report facts, when facts are in short supply…
around the dazed bystanders, covered in dust and walking like zombies…
Why did this happen? Who would do this?
What kind of world will my baby grow up in?
After a few moments, Walt switches off the television; we have an appointment to keep. Car seats are important. We want our baby to be safe, yet I can’t help but wonder if we are fooling ourselves.
We don’t speak much on the ride over. We just listen. The car radio is much the same as the television. No one knows anything, but speculation continues.
Is there a significance to the date? Nine-eleven for nine-one-one?
How many thousands have been killed?
How many are trapped, waiting for rescue?
I resolve to go give blood later that day. I want to do more, but what? There is no answer…
I pray for the victims, the families, America.
Later, we are home again. The television is on. I am both repulsed by what I see and compelled to keep watching. I can’t seem to stop crying, both from sorrow and pride.
People jumping from the upper floors…
The heroes of flight 93…
Families holding hopeful photos of missing loved ones…
Tributes to the police, fire-fighters, and Port Authority…
Stirring words of comfort from both Rudy Giuliani and President Bush…
A fiery, gaping hole in the Pentagon…
The news rolls on. I am not the same.
In the days to come, I will feel a greater connection to my fellow humans. I will swell with pride at the sight of flags being posted all over town. People will treat each other more gently. Americans will feel united in a new way. New facts will come to light, but there will be few real answers.
I will worry.
And then slowly, things will begin to “normalize”. The flags will come down. Tempers will flare. Our country will become more divided than ever. Most of us will commit the crime of forgetting.
I will commit the crime of forgetting.
Who can think of death, and terror and loss when there are bills to pay and dinner to be made?
And yet, there were so many. 3,497 people died that day. To them I say, I’m sorry.
And for them, I take time to I remember.
Remember with me this weekend. Learn more about the victims of 9-11.