Friday, September 11, 2009


We buried my aunt on 9/10/01. This (a relative's burial) is not the sort of date that I would normally remember.

Her services were held in the far southeastern corner of the state and we hadn't seen my uncle or that part of the family for several years so my mother, wife and I stayed late that day and spent the night rather than drive all night after an emotional day.

We woke early (for my mother) the next morning and, since my mother takes a little time to get going in the morning, I had the TV turned on in the motel room. I never watch TV in the morning unless I'm just killing time and out of town.

We were watching a morning program (Today?) when they took a phone call from someone who reported an explosion or something - maybe a plane crash - in a building in Manhattan - perhaps the World Trade Center. The news camera started showing images of black smoke coming out of the tower.

Then, we watched, live, as the second plane hit the other tower.

We knew our world had changed forever.

After about 1/2 hour, we took a group conscience and decided we'd just as well head home (about 6-7 hours away).

As we drove in and out of radio signal range, we heard reports of another plane at the pentagon, all air traffic shut down, 1-3 planes reported as "missing", another plane crash in PA. It was just all too unreal.

One the way down to the memorial service, we'd started listening to one of the Harry Potter books on tape. As we tried to continue the story, we'd catch pieces of radio reports and listen to the story and then we'd think of people we needed to call on the east coast to verify they were all right. The cell phone I had was totally worthless so we stopped several extra times to use pay phones.

We got home that night and just kept getting reports "as many as 50,000 people could still be missing", "emergency hospitals being set up", "reports of miraculous survivals or chances of survival" - I, like the majority of the nation couldn't leave the TV. Even though most of the reports were repetitious and, often, wrong - I just couldn't get full of the news. There seemed to be no relief.

On our trip home, my wife bought 2 cases of tomatoes and she cooked for 2 weeks straight.

For several days I found myself trying to will myself to work but found myself at churches, AA meetings, on the phone, in front of the TV - I just couldn't make sense.

I reached out to the most powerful spiritual adviser that I knew and he couldn't make any sense either.

I felt hatred - and no sane place to focus it.

I felt I had to "do something" - enlist in the military, go to NYC and help with rescue/relief, send money - but everything seemed petty, trite and meaningless.

I felt anger - and under that only found sadness and fear.

Time got me through that deep emotion but I'm still changed.

I think the "place" I got to with my processing of all that negativity has, largely, been borne out in the worlds' experience. War has not brought peace. Justice has not won vindication.

I just hope today that we've all learned something.

Blessings on us all.


Syd said...

You expressed so much of what I felt in an extraordinarily eloquent way. Thank you.

Scott W said...

All we could do was pray that day.

Steve E. said...

I'm guessing Ed, that you spoke for us ALL on this day. Syd's word "ELOQUENT" expresses your blog perfectly.


Prayer Girl said...

Thank you so much for your personal account of 9/11. It changed all of us in profound ways.


Mary Christine said...

I cooked for two weeks straight after 9/11 too -and I was supposed to be packing. I moved on September 28 into this house - and we packed as we moved. It was the worst move ever. I think it is largely why I have never moved again.

But canning and knitting were the only things I could do. I still cherish a wool blanket I knit while watching all of that on CNN, it is one of the warmest, most comforting things I own.