Thursday, September 11, 2008

“We Will Never Forget”

Looking back, I feel very self-centered about the events of our day seven years ago. We were in the process of looking for a bigger house. We had applied for and been approved for the adoption of our second child and decided we’d like to spread out. On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 we had an early appointment at a real estate office to put a contract on a house we had fallen in love with the night before. My husband, my four-year-old daughter and I were in the car. My daughter was clutching the Blue’s Clues videotape she planned to watch in the TV/VCR combo they kept at the real estate office while Mom and Dad signed their lives away.

We switched on the radio and we heard the DJ's saying that the president had been moved to an undisclosed location, but we had just missed the disclosure of the circumstances. We listened closely to try to get more information, but we still had no clue what was going on by the time we arrived at the office. When we walked in, every person in that office was gathered around that tiny TV/VCR combo. We knew that Blue’s Clues was out of the question. That was a given for my husband and me, but it was a tough lesson for a four-year-old little girl.

Our agent helped us through the paperwork, but we were in a daze, and feeling like the new house we so desired was no longer important. Considering what was happening in the world, I can only describe our real estate proceedings that morning as petty. I don’t know why we didn’t just give it up and go home, but we continued despite our reservations. We left and went immediately to my husband’s parent’s house, knowing we needed to be with family.

My husband decided that he would not be going in to work that day. My daughter was supposed to go to pre-school, and I didn’t want her to go either. I didn’t want her to be out of my arms, much less out of my sight. We spent the whole day with my in-laws glued to their television set, still in the daze that had begun early that morning. We stayed until well after dinner, just wanting to be with loved ones all day long.

Despite the daze, I remember some things. I remember calling my mom at work and hearing the anxiety in her voice as she talked about trying to get through to my grandma and other relatives out of state. I remember bawling while watching the members of Congress singing "God Bless America" on the steps of the Capitol building. I remember an overwhelming mix of emotions – confusion, fear, anger, sadness – and the realization that we have so little control over our lives. But I also remember hope for the future. I remember the beginning of a new and determined patriotism; one that I still see today, but that lacks the vigor it had seven years ago. Our memory of that day will keep our patriotism strong. As a country, we really must never forget.

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