This morning I turned on the news instead of cartoons. My oldest was confused. He asked me why the people on TV were sad, and all I could tell him was that they were remembering something very bad that had happened awhile ago. He patted my arm and told me not to be sad too.
But I can't help remembering...and feeling...that day all over again. I remember that day in a series of snapshots...not full memories anymore...just glimpses... But the feelings...the feelings...they come right back to me at the drop of a hat even now.
I was a freshman at college, 18 years old. I remember that I didn't have my 7:35 a.m. class that morning, but I don't remember why. I remember that I decided to get up at normal time anyway so that I could go over to the music hall to practice my clarinet. I remember that I never got around to practicing because as I was walking towards the practice rooms the choir teacher flew out of his office exclaiming something about another one "being hit" and that this was "war." I remember wondering what was going on, but being too shy, too new to ask anyone. I remember wandering around the building and realizing that it was eerily quiet...no one was moving around anywhere. I remember being confused...and scared. Even at that moment when I didn't even know what had happened yet, I knew that it was bad.
I don't remember why I decided to go back to my dorm room and I don't remember how I found out exactly what had happened though I'm assuming it was from the TV.
The next thing I remember is sitting on my futon with my room-mate watching the news, watching the towers fall...over and over again. They just kept playing it over and over like it was the only way to make it real for those of us so far removed geographically speaking. I felt horrified, shocked. I remember thinking that it was unbelievable; that it couldn't possibly be real.
My friend Jaylene lived in a room down the hall. She says I'm the one who woke her up; that I'm the one who told her about it, but I don't remember that either. All I remember is not wanting to be alone...at any point.
I do remember hearing about another girl on our floor who was desperately trying to get a hold of her parents who were on vacation in NYC at the time. I remember that it took her almost all day to finally get any news...thankfully it was good news. I remember being so relieved and happy for her...and then feeling guilty because there were so many people that weren't so lucky.
I remember my roommate and her brother planning to drive home to be with their mother...they were worried about their father who was out of state and expecting to fly out that day. I remember being glad when their mother convinced them not come home, because I couldn't imagine being alone in the room that night.
I don't remember anything else that I did that day...nothing...it is completely blank.
But one thing I can't forget is the feeling...the utter shock I felt, the horror, the disbelief. Words are inadequate to describe how I felt that entire day.
Eventually enough time passed that I didn't think about it every day anymore. I could almost forget all of it. There was a part of me that even wanted to bury my head and pretend it away. A year and half later I was in NYC. I got to walk by Ground Zero. And all of those memories and feelings rushed back, and I realized that it would be wrong to even to try and forget all that had happened.
Remembering that day is like poking a bruise for me...I forget it hurts until I remember it's there. And then it hurts...really badly. I'm glad it hurts though. I don't want to forget this day. The people that died that day and all those that have died since protecting this country from another attack like this deserve to be remembered...always.