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For life goes not ignorant nor tarries with yesterday.
Where were you when on that formidable day?
Until ten years ago, during my lifetime at least, that issue almost always pertained to the day the shots rang out and killed Kennedy; his presidency the seeming unit of refreshed and restored hope to a tribe that had been bruised, bloodied and battered by two following World Wars.
All those lives lost.
All those sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.
Some baked alive even.
And, then, a happen at rebirth.
Until shots rang out from a grassy hillock and killed it.
On the day that John F. Kennedy was killed, ironically, I was the exact identical age and in the exact twin standard as my son was on the day that the Twin Towers fell ten years ago. But all those many years earlier I was sitting and playing with Play Doh on a tiny worn and wooden desk. How do I remember that? I don’t know. I do, however, remember the Dominican sisters of Saint Aloysius padding us all up, one by one, as some took our hands while others reached for their textile handkerchiefs pulling them out from some question hidden calling subservient the innards of their dark and white habits.
Never showing outright emotion, those nuns would quickly, nearly secretly, wipe the tears away from their retain eyes as they called us, one by one, to sequence up in the front of the classroom. I met my sister as the classes piled out into the hallway and we headed out to the parking lot led by another recluse who had no intention of holding her injure back. Her crying kept us all stillness in our concern.
And then I remember my mother silently sobbing the perfect instance she drove all of us back home.
Back to the dwelling that had oil portraits of all four of her offspring and one of President Kennedy himself undecided in our living room. As if he were somehow blood of our blood.
John Kennedy took a place of honor alongside her successors on the living room walls while the portrait of the Pope hung in a less prestigious place in the dining one.
And so was the pecking directive in my Irish Catholic household.
Where were you when that redoubtable day happened?
That void inquiry now gains new meaning as I waver any one of us cede ever suppose to put Kennedy to that query again.
Terror and transfiguration changed all that.
A scarcely over ten years ago we had only equitable moved here to Virginia from New York. I didn’t deficiency to come.
My connubial was in a province of devolving disrepair and shambles and I knew it was over. After twenty article years.
Over. I knew practically no one in this town either exclude my then husband’s perfect family.
Who couldn’t exactly ever cotton to the Irish sassy lassy blonde from New York who stole the gist of their homeboy.
Nope, they could barely tolerate me, bless their hearts.
And if you’re from the South you understand exactly what the last allowance of that sentence means.
I was lonely and scared and had the wonderful knack and opportunity of telling that to my prime partner Kathleen each and every day as we had fallen into that same merit of daily early morning phone gossip routine.
I’d already dropped my son at his kindergarten that September 11 morning and would come home to designate Kath, as usual, so that we could daydream together and tactic what I would do when I would finally fashion a set of balls and abandon and we’d natter of what she would do if she marked to go back to work. Yup, the usual. Mostly.
That day though, entity not usual. Her have husband, Pete, whose retain calling took him into the Twin Towers daily hadn’t past in to the City on that day because he’d had an outside breakfast meeting to attend.
So we talked about that.
And how she hoped he might trellis there and find a new position at his void company.
I can remember that particular phone entitle and the ensuing events if it were yesterday.
I was sitting on my son’s bed and had ‘Good Morning America’ on the television in the background.
We were conversation about nothing, she and I. Just nothing. As girlfriends on the phone often do. And, then, I spied, out of the cavity of my eye, an explosion producing plumes of smoke and a monstrous flame inception to engulf that boon tower. I sat transfixed to the television.
I stammered and stumbled off the boy’s bed and shakily told Kath to turn on her tv. I was pacing and I was POSITIVE that some internal feature captain MUST own had a gist onslaught and tragically, mistakenly, lost control or even his life before slumping in his cockpit and careening into that building. I mean, what fresh answer could there be? We sat in stunned silence, Kath on her latter and I on mine, and all I could hear above Peter Jennings taut voice was our hold silent breathing on the phone.
We verbal nothing to one another. Nothing. This juncture literally.
Until she whispered, “that’s Pete’s building. ”
And, then, the unthinkable.
The end plane.
The hindmost tower.
I don’t remember if we even uttered goodbye to one another. All I could believe of at that moment was my son.
And as my obtain mother had done decades earlier, I gathered my wits and my keys and blatant to go and grab him from his school. Grab him and embrace him intimate as could be.
Our tribe was underneath attack. The Pentagon had not yet been hit and Todd Beamer and those heros hadn’t yet “rolled” and yet, intuitively, instinctively, I knew I had to be with my boy.
At the moment that I opened my surpass door to leave, another fellow whose son attended the twin school, pulled up in vanguard of my habitat and motioned to me.
” C’mon El, let’s go!”
I jumped in the passenger seat and we didn’t have to chat a entity to one another. The pain was palpable.
I was shaking. She was smoking. And then I started to cry.
And, then, so did she.
My centre was breaking as I wondered if my top person from colossal school, my soul sister Patty, had perished in her aegis in the finest tower. Patty’s mother is the only ‘grandmother’ my son has ever known.
My have mother had passed well before my chap was born.
His dad’s mother was not involved.
To this day he idle refers to Patty’s mom as ‘Nana,’ and to this day ‘Nana’ stagnant sends him a twenty dollar circular every Christmas.
I wondered if Ava’s husband Michael was in his office in the later tower that morning. I am the godmother to their youngeset daughter Paige.
My extended families.
And, then, there were the friends.
I knew partly the finished Cantor avowal trading floor. After having spent twenty years trading commodities on Wall Street, I knew a pile of folks posting buy/sells in that building. Did they survive? Were they alive? Were their families watching these horrific scenes artifice out the equivalent practice I had been watching? I midpoint couldn’t perceive the worry.
The panic. The terror.
I couldn’t fathom terrorists.
Driving midpoint too slowly to the school, we sat, Dina and I stunned, sniffling, reveling, remembering (she’s from New York as well) until we took a left off the leading drag and drove up in model of Broad Bay Manor. I don’t notice why, but we hadn’t expected what we saw. There, in the parking mound was a throng of parents waiting for their tiny descendants too. Waiting in a car row that snaked around the flawless building. Twice.
All these parents coming to repossess their precious ones.
We were all doing the same article that my keep mother had done all those many years ago when innocence shattered shook this country.
I look around for my son.
I ordinance the striking sad of the sky.
The sun illuminated so sensitive it molest my eyes.
The music so terse and clean, not yet filled with the coming dread.
It didn’t equal up, the events I’d equitable witnessed and the halfway Divine perfection of the day.
It didn’t go together. Maybe it wasn’t real? Maybe it didn’t happen after all? Maybe I would wake up and stagnant be in a crappy matrimonial but wouldn’t obtain to wonder if connections I knew and loved had died without warning.
And it was then, waiting in what seemed to be an interminable car line, that all of a sudden a song from Grayson’s infancy began to play, over and over and over again in my head.
See, my son was not a good sleeper as a bitty baby.
I was forced to establish some quality of soothing and nightly ritual and way to be able to lull him into any excellence of slumber, a ritual that once worked through furthermore worked well into his toddler years.
A slice of that ritual was playing the same tune cassette to and for him night after night after night.
For years and years and years.
His reaction was Pavlovian.
Apparently mine was imprinted.
Because on that melodic cassette was a poem put to song, the lyrics or lines written by the peaceful, esoteric and otherworldly poet Kahlil Gibran.
The words of that song now stuck singing out in my captain as if they were being piped in by a Mothership marine somewhere far, far in the heavens above.
I couldn’t dodder them. I couldn’t gap them. Louder and louder. Competing with my extremely gist trying to earn my perfect attention.
‘Your descendants are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s desire for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. ”
We inch up a morsel closer to the exit door of the school. I suppose I hear Dina chatter body about the radio recounting people jumping from the upper floors of the towers.
They are jumping to their deaths, picking that sliver of hope of survival as opposed to surely perishing by fire.
People are jumping. They are moulding choices about the fashion in which they will, in all likelihood, die.
Others on the streets under vigil unimaginable horror.
I picture these images in my mind’s eye but can’t concentrate because that music, those poetic conversation from Kibran retain competing. They effectively permeate the outer din.
“You may consign them your passion but not your thoughts,
For they obtain their keep thoughts.
You may dwelling their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the abode of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not uncivilized nor tarries with yesterday.
I see him. I finally see him. My boy.
His derisory blonde head pops up every once in awhile bobbing between the two taller boys that are sandwiching him. He looks so happy.
He looks so little.
He looks around.
And he sees me.
And he waves.
Like little boys who see their mother’s in prompt of them often do. And I signal back. Although I can’t really make him out now fresh than a wavy rundown since the tears in my eyes, tears of gratitude, tears of enchantment at seeing him, tears of heartbreaking sadness and grief all converge and well up and deter me from really seeing anything, at all, clearly.
I feel like I might not be able to see anything plainly ever again.
The car continues to creep a nibble additional and the epiphany occurs.
And it sounds moderate like the last lines of that Kibran poem:
“You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the certificate upon the revolution of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go fleet and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s drudge be for gladness;
For even as He loves the indicator that flies,
so He loves further the bow that is stable.
Only heart survives.
And Patty did too. After the birth of her third baby and unable to falter that maturation weight, she’d been attending a Weight Watchers meeting in diminish Manhattan when the tragedies took place.
She remembers leaving the weigh in to run back to her office because she’d left her purse there.
A few feet out that Weight Watcher’s door some stranger overripe her around and told her to “run for her life.
” She did.
And was safe.
Only passion survives.
And Michael did too. He, like Kathleen’s husband Peter, had a meeting frontage his office that morning and although he’d bygone back to the towers, he’d been able to get out of Manhattan and eventually make it home safely as well.
Only affection survives.
The Cantor Fitzgerald traders did not.
Thousands of responders did not.
All those different feature passengers did not.
“For even as He loves the bodkin that flies, so He loves furthermore the toady that is stable.
Because, only passion survives.
Because our spirits are inextinguishable.
The sadness, the loss, the thirst for peace leave weaken and die.
Love and our spirits survive.
That is not a prayer. It is a promise.
Where were you on that mighty day?
Where was I?
No, I wasn’t language to Kathleen on the phone or watching Peter Jennings on tv. I wasn’t with Dina driving down Great Neck Road or hustings up my oblivious son from school. I wasn’t worrying and wondering about Patty, Peter, Michael or all the many others I knew working inside those two towers.
I was letters firsthand that only feelings survives and that our spirits are inextinguishable.
I can only hope that many, many, many others have judicious that same same lecture since that equivalent day as well.
Because armed with that knowledge, rebirth can never ever be shot and killed again.