September 11th holds unforgettable meaning for those of us living in the United States. I live 10 minutes from New York City, making the World Trade Center- the Twin Towers, not a tourist attraction, but a part of the skyline I was able to see from a local highway, the towering size of the towers looming over us as we drove down the West Side Highway, a place where people I knew went to work everyday. My memory of that morning is still vivid in my mind these 15 years later. I was watching the news before going to work that morning and suddenly the broadcast changed to a live bulletin of the film footage of a plane crashing into the first tower. It was surreal, as if in reality this must have been some kind of movie stunt. I left for work and upon arrival the boys in the school where I worked were all buzzing about whether this could be true or not. We turned on the TV in the office and watched in disbelief as the second tower was hit and then some 20 minutes later crumbled to the ground. It was too much for the mind to absorb. Those buildings were filled with people. How could this possibly have happened?
I can remember getting on the computer when I got home and seeing endless frantic messages on message boards set up for the many businesses that occupied the World Trade Center, people posting names, trying to find loved ones. One of the men who lives in my town had chosen that morning to take a later bus to work, saving him from the fate others met. Another young woman was not as fortunate, leaving her parents with unbearable grief that took many years for them to begin to come to terms with, but eventually leading them to start a memorial fund to help people. You can read about her life here
September 11, 2001 forever changed how we think about what evil is possible in the world, changed how we think about trust and security and how what was once unthinkable can in reality happen.
The Freedom Tower now stands tall close to where the Twin Towers stood, reminding us that that from the horror of what happened we could rebuild. Though our sense of innocence is gone, and we now must live without naivety about the possibility of what can happen, we are stronger for it.
Today I think of the families who suffered the loss of their loved ones that horrible day. May their memory be for a blessing.