“Tumbling Woman”, by Eric Fischl. Officials at New York’s Rockefeller Center kept the sculpture from public display after complaints from onlookers who found the image disturbing. Google image.
Having just dropped the kids off at school, something the guy on the radio said caught my attention.
It took a good 60 seconds before the words sunk in, and it was tone of his voice – the shock – that hit home first. An airplane – no, TWO airplanes, had hit the World Trade Center Towers in NYC, and the top floors of the buildings were ablaze. My mind struggled to grasp words so surreal, I actually shook my head trying to get clear.
But even before the words sunk in, I could feel it. Something bad was going down. Something real bad.
Taking the driveway way too fast, I slammed the car in PARK, ran into the house, and yelled at my husband. “Oh my God, come here! Something horrible has happened!” Together, standing barefoot in our jammies, we watched as the most horrific day in U.S. history unfolded on our TV screen in real time. When a newscaster shouted, and the scene flashed to the Pentagon, I started to shake all over and I don’t think I stopped shaking for weeks. The unthinkable had happened:
America was under attack.
Over the next month, I sat glued to the TV during every free moment and usually found myself weeping uncontrollably…deep gulping sobs of grief, fear and anger. I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t want to leave the house, and I didn’t feel safe. The sounds of a plane overhead was enough for my heart to leap through my chest, and I tried to tunnel what was going on inside of me by painting a huge “God Bless America” sign for the front yard, and participating in neighborhood vigils, and praying like I had never prayed before.
9/11 changed my life – just as it did 100s of 1000s of others lives – and changes it still. Something deep within both my personal and our collective consciousness shifted. My world…our world…tilted on its’ axis and has never been the same since.
It’s not my intent to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 with my strong opinions about what’s happened to the US as a result of the “War On Terror”. Anyone within arms reach of me – either virtually or in real time – knows I’m Pro-Peace, and believe all of the wars we’ve engaged in are illegal, immoral, and a means of profit for those who run the Military Industrial Complex. I support the troops by being vocal about ending these wars, and advocating for more services for our Wounded Warriors.
And don’t get me started on things like Homeland Security, TSA, NSA, the Patriot Act, and Executive Orders. The only thing I’ll say is this: we are no “safer” now, nor is the world safer, as a result of them.
Back to 9/11. Of all of the images I watched from the morning of September 11, 2001, it was the ones of people falling – or jumping – in an attempt to escape the blazing infernos that remain on the forefront. At first, as the TV cameras caught the images in real time, my mind shied away from acknowledging what I was seeing. But eventually, the horrible truth pierced through. Those falling – objects – weren’t pieces of the buildings. They were PEOPLE. About 200 in all, as it turns out. These people, seared into my psyche by the branding iron called horror and disbelief, will forever be a part of me.
In remember of those unsung heroes, please watch this video. It is a documentary based on an article by Tom Junod (Esquire 2003) about a photograph (by Richard Drew) of a man falling from the World Trade Center.
We Will Not Forget