Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Do Not Intend to Sleepwalk ~ Remembering 9/11/01

For the thousands lost and the lives changed. For them we keep it fresh on the page.

I recently unearthed a handwritten journal entry in my diary penned
September 10, 2001.
That year I was in the midst of a painful personal life-altering divorce and feeling philosophically Mimi-like. Little did I know that a few hours later, none of the problems I thought I had would even measure a speck of consideration for quite some time.
Fall 2001 was not a time to take leave of one's family.

Home. My corner of the world. Safe and secure and unharmed by violence. My garden.
My books. My piano. My things. All reasons to take stock of what I was grateful for and why.
There are images that strike me even now as profound and earth-shattering in their own way to my psyche and spirit.
Here are just a few of my vivid memories of that day.
A phone call from my son. He was crying. "Mom, people are jumping from buildings," as he watched the unedited raw footage unfold before the shots were censored.

Something about the way he said my name made me want to forever scoop him up and protect him from such visions. I called or emailed everyone I knew who meant anything to me to make sure they knew I loved them.

Not such a bad idea today, September 11, 2008 either.

Sitting with my then-husband and openly sobbing as we watched the evening news in silence. Suddenly, who gets to keep the SUV didn't matter.

Watching the second plane hit live in real-time broadcasts and the Towers fall. Every night for six weeks I had nightmares about flying planes.

Sitting with a colleague at work and watching the early reports. I remember the feeling of helplessness."There's nothing we can do," I said. " Somebody please help those people."
"All we can do is pray," he said.
And so we did. Holding hands, out loud, unashamed and unaware of denomination or where we were. To me, my friend became the-person-I-was-with-when-it-happened and to this day I still remember the power I felt in the room on that morning. Just as we finished, a co-worker across the hall walked in to see what was wrong. He'd heard us talking about the Pentagon.
"My son is in Washington," he said. "He's a runner at the Pentagon."He left to make a phone call. More praying in room 18.

Who cared what Party you belonged to? I often say "I became an American that day." I'm ashamed to admit it, but my only regret is that up until that horrible morning I had little understanding of what that meant. Not really.
My how my vision has changed.

People wore unspoken pain like a garment.
No chattering at the post office. No small talk at the grocery store.
I remember the sound of no music on the radio for days.
What kind of evil could silence a nation's soul?

The sky
It was a picture perfect day.
A crisp fall day can still take me back to those haunting memories.

After 9/11 I heard stories of people mending fences. We all witnessed ordinary people do extraordinary things. Those who had nothing to offer people in need gave all they had anyway. Collectively.
We were caught in a time warp of kindness for awhile.Don't you remember?

Today, I am more politically aware, unfortunately resolved to
disastrous uncertainties in the world around me and more than ever willing to
run hea
dlong into a very precious span of time called my life.

My one-time comfortable corner of the universe has changed - peacefully so - and we have all happily moved on in our private lives, making new memories on new soil. September 11, 2001 didn't change the ultimate direction my life would take but it did alter the way I moved in it.
When the anger came later, as it did for me - as well as a new found surge into a love and pride for my country as never before - it was fueled with a stark understanding of how precariously we walk.

I, for one, do not intend to sleepwalk.
There was a certain universal passion that dropped in our laps for the things in our lives that really matter. I have found ways to celebrate our differences, our marvelous diverse talents, and probe deeper into what is going on in other parts of the world - with new friends I've found here as well - who offer contrasting viewpoints and strength of conviction for issues in their part of the globe.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have some very important phone calls to make.

And say a prayer tonight, please, for these....who will never come home and whose faces and spirits now look to us to find ways of peace....
for a new generation.

Photos Public Domain


Sarge Charlie said...

this is an excellent post miss queen

Mimi Lenox said...

Sarge - This day hangs like a solemn gloom over the United States. Doesn't it?

Cindy, aka Maxfun said...

Amen. It should hang solemnly over us. We shouldn't forget so easily -- as we did with Oklahoma City.

And yet, in my small city, the folks who run the small airport near my home are holding a meeting tonight, of all nights, to discuss the environmental impact of adding a new runway. Work has kept me from attending, but I did let them know that I felt it was a very poor choice by their PR department to schedule this meeting on 9-11 -- not a day I want to talk about adding air traffic near my home.

Dawn Drover said...

I remember it well Mimi... My sister's hometown of Gander, Newfoundland welcomed thousands of stranded Americans.
We will never forget.

Desert Songbird said...

It is a day that has changed the way we live our lives, the way we think, in ways that some people don't even comprehend. My children have lived most of their lives in a 9/12 world - the day after effect.

Carver said...

Excellent post Mimi. One of my sisters has lived in Manhattan since 1979. I'll never forget that day or the relief I felt when I reached her on the phone, a relief that sadly so many didn't get when they tried to reach their family and loved ones.

Babs (Beetle) said...

Even living in the UK it's a day I will never forget! This post made me re-live those awful moments, when I watched the days events unfolding.

LaTease "Teasas Tips" said...

I am especially reflective on this date because due to a screw up (thank God), I was supposed to have been in the tower with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (MSDW) as a new hire on that day. The 1st leg of training was to be held in NY, with successive weeks in Texas. The training department screwed up, I missed my flight to New York, and well, it wasn't my time. My trainer at MSDW was in the tower that was hit last (I believe that was the south tower), and he was relentless, when told by security to remain in the building, he did not, instead, he grabbed his boss, ran down 11 flights of stairs to safety. On the way down, his boss broke his ankle, and my trainer had to carry him on his shoulder down 4 of those flights. The trainer did not look back until he had got to safety. That he said is when he witnessed the second plane crashing into the tower he was told to remain in.

At the time I was living in St Louis,Missouri and this story was well documented in the papers and television newscasts. As the trainer was treated like a local hero for saving his boss. However, all he could do was cry when he admitted to reporters that his wife had been getting on him about going to church.

This event happens to be another historical event I have witnessed in my lifetime. Some good, some not so good.

Thank you for reflecting and sharing.



Charles Gramlich said...

I remember seeing people leaping from the buildings. It was the most heart wrenching tihng I think I ever saw.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

I had to read your post while flying through some of the pictures...I can not look at them to this day...

I explained my Thursday insanity post today.

Akelamalu said...

The world will never forget 9/11 Mimi and those who lost their lives.

katherine. said...


Never forget - ever

Namnet said...

Reading your excellent post I´ve remembered the atmosphere of the 9/11/01. Even I live in different continent we were shocked by the event. I was watching some film when the news about the attack appeared. It was so unbelievable that I thought it was some kind of bizarre joke at first. Then I realised it was not a joke at all and I called to my parents and sister to tell them how much I love them.
Reading your post I´ve remembered all the feelings I handled that day and I was crying again. It makes me cry everytime I think about the people in those buildings and their relatives.

bundle-o-contradictions said...

I'm very ashamed to admit that I hadn't even thought of what day it was until I drove past a man waving a flag on the overpass as people drove along the interstate. Whoever he was, I want to thank him for waking me out of my sleepwalker state.

Mimi Lenox said...

Cindy - What odd timing for a meeting of that sort. I don't blame you for being upset about it.

Dawn - Our thanks to the folks in Gander Newfoundland. I wasn't aware. Another kindness....

Songbird - I've never heard that expression ...the day after effect...but it is true.

Carver - I had a dear friend in Manhattan that day. He said he just ran for the river.
I can't imagine your fear. Glad she was ok. So much to be thankful for.

Babs - People in America felt the world's compassion.
Thank you.

Mimi Lenox said...

LaTease - What an incredible story. What happened to you - and your friend ....I got chills reading it and can't even comprehend how you must feel when 9/11 rolls around each year. Thank you for sharing this. It is humbling.

Mimi Lenox said...

Charles - So did I. There was a time frame when none of the raw video streaming into our homes was edited that morning. I don't think my son will ever forget it. Nor should he. I think also that it is the most horrific thing I ever witnessed.

Mimi Lenox said...

Bond - I remember your post from last year and your closeness to the situation. I will come over and read again.

Akelamalu - It will stay in our minds and psyches forever. I wish to God it had never happened. Don't we all....

Mimi Lenox said...

Katherine - It's hard to recall and relive.

Namnet - The atmosphere, was eerie....all over the entire United States. People just didn't speak. We were silent.

Autumn - I thank the man on the overpass too. God bless him.

Ferd said...

Thank you for your thoughts and for keeping all this fresh in our minds. This day was a turning point for many of us who were witness to these horrible events.

I am grateful for the sense of safety and freedom that I so often take for granted. I am grateful that tragedy such as this has miraculously avoided my immediate family. I'm grateful for the sacrifice and the example I have been given by so many people during that time of crisis. I will remember their courageous doings always.

Patti said...

Mimi, I just knew you would have a brilliant post for Sept. 11.

Your writing is wonderful, as always.

Mimi Lenox said...

Ferd - I think we all have a tough time on this day. Your post was very touching.

Patti - I have to say that your article at the school for the New Haven Register was superb as well. Hugs to you...

Travis Cody said...

In the days leading up to ever Sept 11 since that day, I feel like I'm trying to move through all the debris. It's hard to get to the day.

Then on the day, I'm overwhelmed by my own thoughts and memories of it.

But as the days go on beyond the day, I reflect on who I am today. I'm more tolerant, more respectful, more aware. I remain intensely affected by the events on that day.

Mimi Lenox said...

Travis - Has anyone told you lately what a special human being you are?

j said...

Your post was beautiful. If I had seen it on Thursday, I don't think I would have handled it as well. I am already so emotionally raw on September 11th. It is the day that I always cry now. Broken hearts yes, broken spirits no.

Mimi Lenox said...

Jennifer - It is so true. The level of raw emotion gets deeper each year I think - instead of easier to take. This sank into our collective souls.

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