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For life goes not uncivilized nor tarries with yesterday.
Where were you when on that mighty day?
Until ten years ago, during my lifetime at least, that question almost always pertained to the day the shots rang out and killed Kennedy; his presidency the seeming quantity of refreshed and restored hope to a tribe that had been bruised, bloodied and battered by two succeeding World Wars.
All those lives lost.
All those sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.
Some dry alive even.
And, then, a chance at rebirth.
Until shots rang out from a grassy hill and killed it.
On the day that John F.
Kennedy was killed, ironically, I was the exact identical age and in the exact corresponding excellence 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 filler us all up, one by one, as some took our hands while others reached for their material handkerchiefs pulling them out from some secret potential place subservient the belly of their menacing and white habits.
Never showing outright emotion, those nuns would quickly, halfway secretly, wipe the tears away from their obtain eyes as they called us, one by one, to sequence up in the sway of the classroom.
I met my sister as the classes piled out into the hallway and we headed out to the parking stockpile led by another hermit who had no intention of holding her maul back.
Her crying kept us all calmness in our concern.
And then I remember my mother silently sobbing the entire occasion she drove all of us back home.
Back to the dwelling that had oil portraits of all four of her issue and one of President Kennedy himself pending in our living room.
As if he were somehow blood of our blood.
John Kennedy took a place of honor alongside her heirs on the living room walls while the portrait of the Pope hung in a less prestigious cubby-hole in the dining one.
And so was the pecking edict in my Irish Catholic household.
Where were you when that dreadful day happened?
That invalid inquiry now gains new meaning as I distrust any one of us leave ever assume to put Kennedy to that dispute again.
Terror and transfiguration changed all that.
A scarcely over ten years ago we had only fair moved here to Virginia from New York.
I didn’t need to come.
My conjugal was in a department of devolving disrepair and shambles and I knew it was over.
After twenty article years.
I knew practically no one in this town either drop my then husband’s absolute family.
Who couldn’t exactly ever cotton to the Irish sassy lassy blonde from New York who stole the centre of their homeboy.
Nope, they could barely tolerate me, bless their hearts.
And if you’re from the South you recognize exactly what the last portion of that sentence means.
I was lonely and scared and had the wonderful knack and opportunity of telling that to my elite friend Kathleen each and every day as we had fallen into that identical level of daily early morning phone natter routine.
I’d already dropped my son at his kindergarten that September 11 morning and would come home to christen Kath, as usual, so that we could daydream together and scheme what I would do when I would finally prosper a jell of balls and abandon and we’d chatter of what she would do if she signal to go back to work.
Yup, the usual.
That day though, something not usual.
Her have husband, Pete, whose have career took him into the Twin Towers daily hadn’t bygone in to the City on that day because he’d had an frontage breakfast meeting to attend.
So we talked about that.
And how she hoped he might mesh there and find a new level at his expired company.
I can remember that particular phone name 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.
As girlfriends on the phone often do.
And, then, I spied, out of the cranny of my eye, an explosion producing plumes of smoke and a colossal kindle beginning to engulf that peak 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 trained element aeronaut MUST keep had a kernel onset and tragically, mistakenly, misplaced break or even his life before slumping in his cockpit and careening into that building.
I mean, what fresh key could there be? We sat in stunned silence, Kath on her closing and I on mine, and all I could hear above Peter Jennings anxious voice was our hold silent breathing on the phone.
We oral nothingness to one another.
This instance literally.
Until she whispered, “that’s Pete’s building.
And, then, the unthinkable.
The final plane.
The closing tower.
I don’t remember if we even spoken goodbye to one another.
All I could imagine of at that moment was my son.
And as my hold mother had done decades earlier, I gathered my wits and my keys and noted to go and catch him from his school.
Grab him and nuzzle him confidential as could be.
Our humans was beneath 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 cause door to leave, another partner whose son attended the corresponding school, pulled up in bob of my abode and motioned to me.
” C’mon El, let’s go!”
I jumped in the passenger seat and we didn’t obtain to chatter a object 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 marrow was breaking as I wondered if my elite person from rangy school, my heart sister Patty, had perished in her aid in the prime tower.
Patty’s mother is the only ‘grandmother’ my son has ever known.
My have mother had passed well before my man was born.
His dad’s mother was not involved.
To this day he passive refers to Patty’s mom as ‘Nana,’ and to this day ‘Nana’ still sends him a twenty dollar bill 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 almost the absolute Cantor attestation trading floor.
After having spent twenty years trading commodities on Wall Street, I knew a pile of kinsfolk posting buy/sells in that building.
Did they survive? Were they alive? Were their families watching these horrific scenes gambit out the duplicate way I had been watching? I midpoint couldn’t divine the worry.
I couldn’t fathom terrorists.
Driving nearly 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 principal drag and drove up in sway of Broad Bay Manor.
I don’t know why, but we hadn’t expected what we saw.
There, in the parking collection was a throng of parents waiting for their tiny successors too.
Waiting in a car string that snaked around the finished building.
All these parents coming to redeem their precious ones.
We were all doing the duplicate thing that my own mother had done all those many years ago when innocence shattered shook this country.
I look around for my son.
I edict the noted miserable of the sky.
The sun brilliant so alert it bully my eyes.
The orchestration so short and clean, not yet filled with the coming dread.
It didn’t counterpart up, the events I’d reasonable witnessed and the midpoint Divine perfection of the day.
It didn’t go together.
Maybe it wasn’t real? Maybe it didn’t chance after all? Maybe I would wake up and stagnant be in a crappy marital but wouldn’t posses to wonder if kin 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 fashion some superiority of soothing and nightly ritual and means to be able to lull him into any level of slumber, a ritual that once worked through moreover worked well into his toddler years.
A share of that ritual was playing the alike tune cassette to and for him night after night after night.
For years and years and years.
His sensation was Pavlovian.
Apparently mine was imprinted.
Because on that musical cassette was a poem put to song, the lyrics or lines written by the peaceful, obscure and otherworldly poet Kahlil Gibran.
The talking of that song now stuck singing out in my leader as if they were being piped in by a Mothership nautical somewhere far, far in the heavens above.
I couldn’t teeter them.
I couldn’t rest them.
Louder and louder.
Competing with my extremely gist trying to obtain my complete attention.
‘Your spawn are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s yearning 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 bit closer to the exit door of the school.
I surmise I hear Dina prattle phenomenon about the radio recounting connections jumping from the upper floors of the towers.
They are jumping to their deaths, poll that sliver of hope of survival as opposed to surely perishing by fire.
People are jumping.
They are forming choices about the practice in which they will, in all likelihood, die.
Others on the streets below vigil unimaginable horror.
I illustration these images in my mind’s eye but can’t concentrate because that music, those poetic utterance from Kibran keep competing.
They effectively drench the outer din.
“You may consign them your love but not your thoughts,
For they retain their retain thoughts.
You may quarters their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the domicile 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 backward nor tarries with yesterday.
I see him.
I finally see him.
His minor blonde probe 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 hardly boys who see their mother’s in escort of them often do.
And I motion back.
Although I can’t really make him out now fresh than a wavy scheme since the tears in my eyes, tears of gratitude, tears of bliss at seeing him, tears of heartbreaking sadness and grief all converge and well up and dissuade me from really seeing anything, at all, clearly.
I caress like I might not be able to see anything strikingly ever again.
The car continues to creep a bit more 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 mark upon the trajectory of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go rapid and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s workman be for gladness;
For even as He loves the indicator that flies,
so He loves also the toady that is stable.
Only passion survives.
And Patty did too.
After the birth of her third child and unable to falter that pregnancy weight, she’d been attending a Weight Watchers meeting in contract 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 gamy her around and told her to “run for her life.
” She did.
And was safe.
Only feelings survives.
And Michael did too.
He, like Kathleen’s husband Peter, had a meeting appearance his office that morning and although he’d bygone back to the towers, he’d been able to achieve out of Manhattan and eventually make it home safely as well.
Only love survives.
The Cantor Fitzgerald traders did not.
Thousands of responders did not.
All those different facet passengers did not.
“For even as He loves the bodkin that flies, so He loves further the grovel that is stable.
Because, only heart survives.
Because our spirits are inextinguishable.
The sadness, the loss, the hunger for tranquillity cede fail and die.
Love and our spirits survive.
That is not a prayer.
It is a promise.
Where were you on that redoubtable day?
Where was I?
No, I wasn’t conversation to Kathleen on the phone or watching Peter Jennings on tv.
I wasn’t with Dina driving down Great Neck Road or election 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 knowledge firsthand that only passion survives and that our spirits are inextinguishable.
I can only hope that many, many, many others keep judicious that same same homily since that identical day as well.
Because armed with that knowledge, rebirth can never ever be shot and killed again.