I vividly remember September 11, 2001.
No doy, right? I was always a bit skeptical when I would hear those "I always will remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when JFK was shot" stories as a child....but now I know how vividly such acts of violence can completely transform a person, a community, a nation.
I was driving in the car with Elizabeth on the way to the daycare when I heard on the radio something about a plane flying into the WTC. Something was mentioned about "possible terrorist attack" and I vividly remember rolling my eyes. That could NEVER happen. This was the US of freaking A...I always hated the media's overreacting.
How I wish it was the media overreacting that day.
I dropped Elizabeth off at the center and returned home to get my stuff for my first class. Acting for Non-Majors, Tuesdays and Thursdays, taught by Neil. My roommate informed me that a second plane had hit the second tower and that the "Pentagon was on fire". It still seemed surreal. I got my stuff and headed to class.
Once I got there, people had found a radio and were listening intently to the news. Neil walked in and spoke words that I will never ever forget: "Today is the day that America lost her innocence. Class is cancelled. Go do what you have to do."
Those words still bring tears to my eyes.
So do all of the memories of everything that happened after: The firemen with the boots. Trying to explain all of this to a not quite 4 year old. Frantically calling a guy I was in a relationship with to make sure he was OK. Watching those towers collapse.
Things changed after that day. Ten years later, the effects of that day are still felt. And the pain is still as real.
Tomorrow we are having Alexis's birthday party. Ten years later, on a day that horrific, unspeakable acts of violence occurred, we are still able to celebrate a child's birthday. Innocence and laughter will be in my house that day, juxtaposed against all of the solemn remembrances. Elizabeth asked me if it was irreverent to have the party that day.
No, was my reply. They did not win. We will stop to remember; of course...but we will not allow them to bring us to our knees with their hate and their violence. We will remember and honor all the fallen that day the best way we can...by being Americans; doing American things; celebrating the birth of a child.
This is the US of freaking A, after all.