My family says I have the best memory. I remember the most obscure, most trivial things. Like the time my sister tricked me into eating mudpies because they were full of minerals and iron. To this day she doesn’t remember that. But my tummy and I sure do.
Tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I know most people remember what they were doing on that calm Tuesday morning. I remember what I wore (denim shorts and a yellow T-shirt, my hair up in a clip), what I fixed for breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast, and oatmeal for Little One and Hubby), the pot Little One was using for a drum (Calphalon anodized 1 qt.), getting Eldest ready for her second week of first grade, putting her hair in braids and packing her lunch (ham sandwich, carrots, fruit cup, and a juice box), watching Son build his daily Lego masterpiece (Duplo tower). And I remember Hubby calling me from Ft. Bragg to tell me to put the TV on the news.
I remember sitting there, watching the smoldering coming from the World Trade Center, saddened by the thought that some poor guy underestimated his little plane and thinking there would be casualties from this accident. But then the smoke and fire was just too much, and it just didn’t look right. I remember calling my dad at his office in El Paso, and telling him what was going on, and as I watched, I saw a huge airliner hit the other tower, and sadness turned to horror, my voice reflecting it as I relayed the happenings to my dad. My dad, the calmest person I know, instructed me to hang up the phone, and to call Hubby immediately. I was crying, trying to keep it together because two little souls were worried about their momma. And my dad barked at me again, repeating his orders until I could function. I called Hubby and what I heard chilled me.
“We are under attack.”
It wasn’t the words, it was the tone of his voice. I was speaking to a soldier now, not a husband. One who had prepared for war at a very young age, thanks to his father. And one that was ready and willing to go, if and when the time came. He calmly told me to keep the kids occupied, and away from the TV until we knew the extent of the attack. And then he told me he wouldn’t be home for dinner.
Fast forward to yesterday. I overheard a woman speaking to her friend how she just didn’t understand why we don’t move on and not think about 9/11/01 any more. To her, it was just so long ago, and we should just put it behind us. I admit, I was very angry. Forgetting is the first step in repeating, after all. But 9/11 was not “long ago”. Not when you have a gaping hole still seeping in the middle of New York City, one that wounds the Nation’s soul. A gaping hole that keeps being salted by the likes of political correctness.
Remembering gives us hope. Remembering gives us a goal. Remembering honors those who were killed, and those who died to protect us.
Forgetting lets the terrorists win.