September 11, 2020 –
I made plans to go fishing a few days ago. I realized it was a Friday but not this Friday. When I came back from walking Otto Sue was in front of the TV with wet eyes. The screen captured the 9/11 Memorial Park in Manhattan, the two large waterfall/reflecting pools in which the water falls finally into a dark nothingness. The names of those who died that day engraved in the surrounding stone. The readers are carefully pronouncing each name, the screen shows the name, age and a photo of what they once looked like. They are up to the C’s, there is a long way to go. It is incredibly sad.
I think not of the anger that filled many in our nation, the thought of being attacked in our iconic city, in our capital. Hijacked planes turned into weapons of terror and death. Wanting to strike out at someone, anyone. It turned out this was not done by a country that you can target but rather by an ideology, by the way some people think. They were Middle Easterners, Muslims, and Arabs – yes. Needing some target to send all the hate and fear to we later picked one although it had nothing to do with what happened this day. George W gave us our target. Almost a decade of war and over 4000 US citizens killed. I wasn’t thinking about retribution this morning.
What I did think about is what was on the minds of the victims that morning? Were they worried about a business meeting or some deal that was to go down; reflecting on some fact of their life: who they had dinner with, whose birthday was coming up, where to vacation this winter, who will win the football game tonight, how are they going to keep paying all these bills, will they work it out with their spouse one more time? All the types of things one wonders about while riding in on the train or subway each day. Just another day. But it wasn’t. The impact on the victims was swift compared to the pain their loved ones, friends and coworkers still feel and will continue to feel, especially on this day, September 11, each year for the rest of their lives. That is what I was thinking about. How life can seem so normal and routine each morning and then it isn’t, and your life changes forever.
I was thinking how the names represent so many ethnic groups, so many nations of origin, such a diversity of people, all within two buildings in New York City. We are the World. We once were proud to be a nation of immigrants but not these days. I was thinking about that too. Them and us. That is how it is nationally and internationally. Divisive. Horrible.
That day about 3000 died, not sure if they are counting the babies of those who were pregnant. People in the buildings and those who ran to them to try and help. Some on the street, struck by over 200 who jumped, and then the collapse. More have died of related diseases since. It doesn’t end. This is what hate produces. It is never good. And hate does not relieve hate, it only empowers it.
We killed Osama but that doesn’t help the holes in the hearts of so many, although who am I to say what they feel.
Now up to the G’s. – Pete Ganci – 55. Chief of the Department (FDNY) and refusing to let his men be there without him. In the North Tower, then the South, then it collapsed. His body found in the basement covered with 4 feet of debris. The dogs found him. A childhood neighbor of Sue’s. He is just one of so many stories.
As I kissed Sue goodbye I didn’t want to leave her, but I did.
Once at the river my mind goes into fishing mode. It’s a relief. I am thankful and take a moment to say a silent prayer for those grieving.