The anniversary of 9/11 probably doesn’t knock the wind out of me like it does for many of you. I don’t know a single person who died that day. I don’t even think I know someone who was devastatingly impacted by what happened that day. If I do, they’ve never mentioned it and that’s a sad story too.
I think if I were to go see the site where it happened, it might knock some sense in me even now. I only say this because I also remember what happened right here in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. On the morning of the Oklahoma City bombing I was having breakfast with my dad at a mom-and-pop diner in Owasso. That was a Wednesday and even now I don’t know what I was doing home that day. It was the middle of the week and I’m guessing I was normally in class at OSU, but for some reason I was home and my dad wasn’t at work and we were having biscuits and gravy and watching Oklahoma fall apart on a grungy small screen with foil-wrapped bunny ears.
I remember both of us not talking that much.
In the days after that I absorbed that news like much of the state, only I didn’t know anyone who died, nor did I know anyone who knew anyone. I got several calls from friends wondering about me and people I know. I was thankful for the concern, but almost felt guilty that my personal life was not impacted by the tragedy.
The morning of September 11, 2001 was like most of the other mornings of my life with a 2yo, 1yo, and pregnant with a third existence. Most of my mornings from that period of life are a complete blur. I don’t remember right now even why I had our own grungy small screen with foil-wrapped bunny ears television set on. Chances are good I was hunting for Sesame Street. Or maybe Craig called and told me to turn it on. I don’t know. But I did turn it on, and I saw what the rest of you saw and was numb like many of you probably were. And irrationally afraid that maybe NORAD would be a target and darn it if we didn’t live really, really close to Cheyenne Mountain.
I remember watching all day and only being able to think about it because I was alone with my 2yo and 1yo. I remember driving around town by myself after dinner in a complete daze because I needed to get out of the house, get away from the TV, get away from my own reality. I ended up at a large church with a full parking lot. I thought maybe I’d hear something that made that day make sense. I ended up walking in as it was pretty much over and so I found a corner, I knelt, I cried, I prayed.
I drove back home and life went on. Ten years’ worth of life, in fact.
Because I didn’t know anyone involved and because I am physically distant from the location of the devastation, I’ve also become emotionally distant. I don’t know that that’s wrong, but once again, I’m feeling just a bit guilty that my personal life was not impacted by the tragedy.
I don’t want to be paralyzed by a grief that on a personal level isn’t mine to own, but I don’t want to be numb to a grief that is America’s to bear together as a nation.
And so I take this moment in time to pause. To pray. To remember. Life will continue to go on, it always does.
But for now, I remember.