It is currently 7:45 a.m. – just one minute shy of the anniversary of the horrific attacks on America ten years ago. Watching television coverage brings back the memories which are still raw.
Isn’t it funny how you remember in detail what you were doing at the time of great tragedy?
On that day 10 years ago, I was driving to T.E. Lott and Company to get the monthly financials certified for the Starkville Area Arts Council. On a beautiful fall day, all was right in my world (I thought). Suddenly, the radio announcer broke in to regular programming to say a small plane had run into the World Trade Center.
“How on earth could such a thing happen,” I thought. No way could I imagine the series of events which would shake our very souls by the end of the morning.
We had just begun going over the financials at T.E. Lott when Jeff Reed burst in to tell us a second plane had struck. Jeff had a small television in his office so we rushed in to watch in horror as the Pentagon was attacked and word began circulating about another hyjacked plane headed to the Washington area.
I uttered a prayer of gratitude that my friend, Hailey Rhoades, who had worked as a sommelier at Windows On the World until six months prior to 9/11 had left for another position. I called my children even though neither was anywhere close to New York or Washington. At times like those, you just want to talk to those closest to you and vow to take nothing for granted in the future.
Today, my least favorite syndicated political newspaper columnist, Kathleen Parker, did a piece on how 9/11 brought out the worst in Americans at Ground Zero – she said hate, fear, resentment and dysfunction had its roots in that fateful moment.
I don’t remember it that way at all, Kathleen. I remember volunteers flooding into New York City to help try to rescue people. I remember watching total strangers holding on to each other in an effort to get to safety and spread some comfort in the midst of that “dysfunction.” I remember the firefighters entering the fated building to try and save as many people as they could, but who lost their lives in the process.
I remember feeling closer to my fellow Americans than at any point in my life. If we don’t try to find some kind of silver lining in this tragedy, we have lost some of our humanity. But, still, a huge price to pay in loss of innocent Americans who were simply going about their business.