I wonder, if in this time of sadness for New Orleans, have we forgotten what happened on this day four years ago? It is strange to think, that four years ago, around this same time, America was giving again to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, opening its arms to those who had lost something. The question in New York was the same as it is there,"Did you loose any one?" The missing people web sites, the pictures, Have You Seen... The stories of rescue and hope, and again, those of deep sadness, of death. The stories of the brave Firefighters and Police Officers. It was known as the Day that Changed America, and I would be surprised if Katrina will be remembered in the same way.
Sometimes I think, has it been for years since those attacks? It was one of those times when people asked, where were you? And still they ask. And so I answer that question agian to day, and tell the story as it will probably be told to my children-
Where was I?
I was at home that morning. I had a writting class I was preparing for. I was in 9th grade. Our neighbors children were over, there mom having gone for a doctors appointment. Our house was being painted.
Paul, our painter, came in and asked mom to turn on the TV, something was going on in New York. I came into out den to find the two of them staring at the screen. What was going on? I asked. Mom sushed me and I continued looking at the screen. All I knew at that moment was that a large building in NYC had been hit by a plane. I called the other kids in to come watch, I don't know why. I suppose that I knew some how this was important. Soon after that, I had to leave for my class. We all piled in the car and left. We kept the radio on most of the way. I still didn't understand what exactly was going on. But terrorist attack was begining to come across the air waves.
By the time I arrived at my class (in the home of another homeschooler) the towers had collapsed. We all watched the TV as they showed huge dustclouds and replayed the collapes agian. It was a very quite class. I think our teacher cried a little.
My day continued on, a visit to the orthodontist, coming home to find dad at home. They had told people downtown to leave. Fear still in the air of more attacks. The TV stayed on all day. Reports floating in of another plane crash, what was that about?
Over the next three or more days we hardly had the TV off. Especially at night. Watching the news, what had happened and why? Stories of heros came in. Father Judge, the Firefighters, police officers, Mayor Guliani.
I still don't think it hit me until later just how horrible that day was. But I'll never forget that feeling, when I went to bed that night, what kind of world would I wake up to the next morning? I was afraid for many nights. Would it come to us?
But in this time of memories, let us not forget those who were so brave.
And those, who witnessed to the end, Father Michael Judge was the first of those dead to be removed from Ground Zero. His death certificate bore the number 1-