I don't think that a person can let this day go by without thinking what it meant/means or where you were when the news came in about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center buildings, or the Pentagon, or the downed plane in Pennsylvania.
I remember the shock and horror I felt eleven years ago. I remember watching the television for days on end and every year my brain conjures up the one image I cannot replace.
We were living in a tiny rented house a few blocks away from the one we live in now and I was in the bedroom doing something or other when my husband called my name. Our boy was in bed - three years old at the time - and I had to get up and walk away from the tv. There was only so much that my mind, my heart could process those days. But the way my hubby's voice sounded, I'll never forget. I walked into the living room, saw him with tears in his eyes and he just nodded towards the tv.
I looked over.
I still can't forget what I saw.
It was a changing of the guard of sorts at Ground Zero. The epicenter of so much tragedy, of heroism, of everything we watched for days. They were still searching for people's missing loved ones. Firefighters and EMTs were sifting through the rubble of those two massive buildings to return the fallen to the people that loved them.
Men and women walking out in their firesuits, bright yellow, with hats tilted back far enough that you could see where the hats had rested on their heads for hours, where the dirt of the rubble was still on their faces. They were walking out.
If that weren't enough to stop my breath, there was more: All along their path, lining their way out, were their partners, their coworkers, the next shift, lighting their way out.
I cannot and will not ever forget that image. These people holding silent salute to the shift before making sure that they would return home safely.
We were all New Yorkers on those following days. We cried along with a nation who was grieving their fallen.
But sitting in the middle of an Iowa Fall night, I prayed for these brave souls.
And today, I remember.