Has it really been five years since my beautiful New York City was turned into a war zone? Though I’ve watched the images replayed countless times, they still cut to the bone like they did the first time I saw them. They still produce the same shock and fear. It’s hard not to get angry.
I just got off the phone with my younger sister, who lost someone she loved that day. It’s no easier to talk about it now than it was then. The wound is still so fresh. There are still no words. She got off the phone just a moment ago, before the moment of silence at 8:46. She couldn’t speak anymore. She’s married now and has a baby on the way that will be born next month. She decided to go to work today to avoid watching the news, which I’ve been doing all morning.
They’re reading off the names of those lost now and I wait for the names of those I knew, people I went to school with, relatives of close friends, people whose bodies were never recovered, like my sister’s boyfriend. For five years those families have suffered. Has there been any healing? It’s hard to say.
New York has been built back up in these five years but the towers no longer stand and never will again. Soon it will be a memorial, something a lot of New Yorkers fought against. In many ways, it has gone back to business as usual – some might say that that’s a tribute to those who died, that we carry on - but has anyone forgotten? Maybe some have. We are no longer united as we were in the days and weeks and months following the attacks. There are no longer American flags streaming from every front porch and every passing vehicle. Politics have taken over again, dividing us. Americans have forgotten how our President stood with the people of New York and vowed to make the terrorists hear from us. I haven’t.
I’d like to believe we are still in the process of making them hear. In the meantime, all we can do is pray for those who are still suffering today as they suffered five years ago and hope that there will be retribution and peace for them someday. The healing comes slowly, but eventually it will come. (Won't it?)
However hard it is to recall or put into words, I know I’ll never forget. I doubt any of us touched by that day will.
The second moment of silence has just passed...
And the memories of that day rush to my mind. Walking in the door after running through the streets to get home. My family answering the door in tears . We almost collapsed right there. But mostly, I remember those days following 9/11, when my family and I all sat together and watched the news for nearly 24 hours at a time. We sat and cried together, talked together, watched the countless childen holding up "missing" signs on the news, begging for their loved ones' return. I felt so fortunate to be with mine. Up to that point in my life, I don't think I ever felt more love for them as I did in those days.
What a reminder that day was and will always be of the need to tell those we love how much we love them -- especially when we think of how many people likely died without ever being able to do so... I'm glad I was able to today.