Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam

I know people who knew people. A family on one of the planes, a restaurant worker in the one of the towers, a cousin at the Pentagon.

I haven't read any of the novels that have been written about that day. I didn't even buy Springsteen's "The Rising" but burned a copy of a friend's. Which is messed up in one place so we hardly ever listen to it.

I don't have the Lego tower anymore, the one The Child built one afternoon and brought to me.

"Do you know what this is?" she asked. She was only 7.

"It looks like one of the towers".

"It is," she said, brightly. "But see? I made a diving board. And down here is a big swimming pool. That way if something ever happens, like, oh, say, a fire or something, the people could just jump away and be safe".

She didn't see any television that day. I wouldn't let her watch. I didn't want her to see the smoke and panic and tears. She was picking up enough of that from us. Because as much as we understood that the point of terrorism is to stop you in your tracks, make you afraid to live life normally, at least on that day, they succeeded. I was good and afraid. Trying to be a big strong mommy was the only thing that kept me going. I still had tiny tremors in my hands in the late afternoon, as I sat blithely waiting for The Child to finish with dance class. It was the one day, in all those years of dance classes, that the moms, who usually just sat in their own little worlds reading magazines or tending smaller sibs, actually talked to each other.

I wasn't going to write about this today but I woke up remembering, woke up to my alarm instead of to the ring of the phone and ChouChou's terse voice saying, "Turn on your TV". That day the phone woke me from a dream wherein the Mariners, in that glorious 2001 season of 118 wins, were simply given the league championship because everyone was tired of losing to them. And then I turned on the TV and understood for the first time what it really meant to feel anguish.

I wasn't going to write about this because it's too easy to veer off into rants about our reckless government, about the thousands upon thousands who have since died in the Middle East for nothing, about generals advising we stay the course in the face of certain defeat. And I don't want to do that. And I won't. Because whatever else this anniversary has come to represent, today it is about remembering. I remember the stunning cloudless September morning, a cloudless morning that stretched from coast to coast. I remember the silent skies. It was so quiet that day that all you heard outside was birdsong. I remember that we ate take-away pizza with the cadre of family and friends who had gathered, searching for the comfort of community in the midst of such a randomly horrible day, I remember that suddenly, out of the silence, there was the roar of jets and I looked up in panic.

"Those are ours," Jim said, very softly.

Then suddenly on top of all my shattered, oogey emotions and untamed thoughts was added the notion of living in a city, on a day, when the military had to fly cover.

I suppose remembering is a pretty human characteristic and today I can't help but remember. I guess I thought writing a blog post about remembering was kinda lame and maybe even corny. Except everyone else in America is remembering today, and not just because of the memorials and moments of silence, but because this anniversary, this date, is burned on us forever.

In the end though, I decided to write for Sandra, Francie and John because I know they woke up remembering, too; remembering the ones they lost. They join thousands of others who lost loved ones, who will wake remembering and probably incredulous that it's been 6 years already. Because however much any of us have "moved on", September 11 isn't just a date. It was an event. And it seems like it was just yesterday.



Blogger TWISI opined...

Thanks for helping me remember what is most important about this day.

September 11, 2007 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Dena opined...

Thank you Lorraine, It is still helpful to remember and share how we,and others felt on that tragic Day. It helps us all get thru another anniversary. I knew no one from the crashes but My husband was in the Air that Morning and as my 2 sons (18&21 at the time) and I watched in horror we waited for him to call that he was safe. My daughter who is a teacher tried to keep her Jr. High kids from any news and called me to find out what was really going on, a lot of her students parents work for the ailines. A year or so ago she was apart of a online tribute for 9/11
She wrote about Mr. Bill Steiner, wrote a letter to his wife who wrote her back. The tribute can be read on her blog still, just click the tribute box. She did not know Bill personally but just picked his name from the 2996 victims list did the reseach and felt in her heart that it was a honor to do it for Bill's family Andersonfamilyblog.blogspot.com Please take the time to stop by her blog

September 11, 2007 10:28 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric opined...

What's particularly eerie for me about today (Sept. 11, 2007) is that, like 9/11/01, this is a Tuesday. There's something about "Tuesday" that just seemed utterly normal and harmless and ordinary. I'm working in the same office building that I worked in on that day, and bought my morning cup of coffee at the same little coffee stand, where the radio was playing, just like it was six years ago. Only this morning, the radio was tuned to "soft rock for the workday" rather than the news, which was a small blessing.

September 11, 2007 1:38 PM  
Blogger Auld Hat opined...

I was living in Port Angeles. In the kitchen, cooking breakfast: soy sausage patties and no-yolk scrambled eggs for the man in my life with a cholesterol problem.
"Hey Ang, get in here. I think something might be happening". Naturally, I burned breakfast.

September 11, 2007 1:49 PM  
Blogger Dariush Alavi opined...

Very elegantly put, if I may say so. I remember so much about that day too, even though I was thousands of miles away from it all. It was all so utterly, utterly unreal... which is, of course, a pathetic way of saying that it was far TOO real for us to be able to fathom.

September 11, 2007 1:59 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

I believe you did the same for me last year, Twisi.

Thanks for the link to the tribute, Dena. It was lovely.

"Ordinary" has a different meaning now, doesn't it, Red?

Yeah, I don't think I even ate breakfast that morning, Hat, burned or otherwise.

Thanks, Dariush. We were all a little closer that day...which is one of the saddest things about it given how all that good will ended up being squandered. And I remember how then PM Blair spoke words of comfort to the people of the US that day...when our own president was mute.

September 11, 2007 2:27 PM  
Blogger rosemary opined...

Beautifully said. Sad day for so many reasons not the least of which is a useless war with more lives lost. It does seem like yesterday, Lorriane.

September 11, 2007 2:50 PM  
Blogger Seattle Coffee Girl opined...

Beautifully stated.

September 11, 2007 3:05 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Amen, Rosie.

Thanks, SCG. Now go back to snuggling that baby of yours!

September 11, 2007 3:43 PM  
Blogger Alan opined...

Thank you for the wonderful post. How many of us either called others to do it or were woke up with those same words - "turn on the tv". I did it to my sister in Seattle (I was in San Diego at the time), and we stayed on the phone together until the second tower fell, and we just couldn't do it anymore.

September 11, 2007 4:47 PM  
Blogger Molly opined...

i am posting a link on my blog to this one. this was the some of the most beautiful writing of yours that I've read. really, auntie raine. it's astounding. thank you.

September 11, 2007 5:31 PM  
Blogger jp opined...

It's hard to find new ways to talk about something that's been talked about so much.

That story about the swimming pool? Beautiful, and new to me.

Well done.

September 11, 2007 6:11 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

"Turn on the TV". Man, it is never a good thing when someone says that, is it, Alan?

Bless your heart, Mols.

Thanks, Poodle.

September 11, 2007 6:23 PM  
Blogger greeny opined...

Beautiful, Lorraine. I couldn't bring myself to post anything today because it would be trite but you said so many things I was feeling.

September 11, 2007 6:30 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...


September 11, 2007 6:35 PM  
Blogger Mom opined...

My son worked in th Pentagon in 2001. When I realized it had been hit my world stopped. He survived - was out of the building at that moment - but it was a very long 8 hours before he could get a call though to anyone to tell us he was ok.
We are all 9/11 families now. That day changed our lives.

September 11, 2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Oh geez, Mom. That must have been excruciating. I'm so glad he was safe. Wish they all had been.

September 11, 2007 9:30 PM  
Blogger more cowbell opined...

Lorraine, I thought the same thing today, trying to decide whether to do a post -- is it lame, corny? I think though, that all of us, no matter where we were or what we were doing, remember that day. We all have that in common, it ties us together.

I can remember my mom telling the story of exactly what she was doing the day JFK was shot. I can tell that story myself. My memories of 9/11 and most other people's have nothing to do with actually being there or being close to one who was. But we all remember so much about that day, and we all know that we share that.

September 11, 2007 10:02 PM  
Blogger Sara opined...

that was... great.

im teary

September 11, 2007 10:31 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Cowbell: Yup.

Sara: Thanks for stopping by, sweetie. Don't cry.

September 12, 2007 9:50 AM  
Blogger Iwanski opined...

Best 9/11 thing I've read this year.

September 12, 2007 3:18 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

You humble me, sir.

September 12, 2007 3:30 PM  

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