Saturday, September 12, 2009

I know yesterday was 9/11

I know that yesterday was 9/11, but I really didn't want to think about it.  Even after all this time, it feels too raw when I let my mind go there.  But trying to ignore it did no good, I spent much of the day seeing the images on tv and the net.  Even writing these few lines has tears in my eyes.  What I remember most about that day and the months that followed were the acts of heroism.  The teachers at a daycare herding their charges to safety through choking dust.  The first responders running up the stairs in the second tower, knowing they might, probably, die, because they saw what happened to the first.  The guide dog and his owner helping guide others through the blinding dust and smoke to safety.  The people on a plane who weren't going to sit back and just let the hijackers win.  The people who ran to help others when they could have run to safety.   The K-9 who risked his life to find survivors only to later be shot and killed by other police officers when in the line of duty pursuing a felon. The searchers in the following weeks knowing they couldn't possibly find a survivor, and the joy when they did against all odds. The same searchers when it became obvious just how dangerous and toxic the rubble was, but they kept digging, looking for corpses so families would know.  All the dogs who risked their lives and sanity to find the dead.  Don't think these dogs didn't know what they were being asked to do.  I've trained dogs for this.  They knew, but they went willingly.
It was a bad day, but it was a time that showed what Americans were capable of.  We pulled together.   Stores in the area opened their doors to give away food that would have spoiled anyway.  Crime dropped.  Flags flew.  People were proud to be Americans.  Not the fakey political pride of the later Bush years, but real pride in heroism and generosity.  We cared.  Why we have to have grand tragedies to act well towards our fellow humans, I don't know, but I do know that this is one thing I wish we could have kept out of that horrible time.
The horrors only brushed lightly over us, so far removed here in Tucson.  My husband was in California that day at the airport preparing to fly home.  He had turned in his rental car and was heading for his plane when the terrible news broke and all planes were grounded.  He returned to the rental place where miraculously they still had his car.  The company, Alamo, let him take the car out of the state, return it in Tucson and didn't charge him.  They even gave him a coupon for future use.
Maybe next year I'll do better on 9/11, cry a little less, maybe even forget a little.  I doubt it.  I don't think I'll ever stop feeling this pain when I let my mind go back...I'm not sure I want to.

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