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For life goes not benighted nor tarries with yesterday.
Where were you when on that dreadful day?
Until ten years ago, during my lifetime at least, that matter partly always pertained to the day the shots rang out and killed Kennedy; his presidency the seeming amount of refreshed and restored hope to a humans that had been bruised, bloodied and battered by two sequential World Wars.
All those lives lost.
All those sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.
Some burned alive even.
And, then, a happen at rebirth.
Until shots rang out from a grassy elevation and killed it.
On the day that John F. Kennedy was killed, ironically, I was the exact alike age and in the exact duplicate grade 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 stuffing us all up, one by one, as some took our hands while others reached for their essence handkerchiefs pulling them out from some enigma latent cubby-hole under the tummy of their minatory and white habits.
Never showing outright emotion, those nuns would quickly, almost secretly, wipe the tears away from their have eyes as they called us, one by one, to file 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 collection led by another anchorite who had no intention of holding her misuse back. Her crying kept us all peace in our concern.
And then I remember my mother silently sobbing the perfect juncture she drove all of us back home.
Back to the domicile that had oil portraits of all four of her spawn and one of President Kennedy himself undecided in our living room. As if he were somehow blood of our blood.
John Kennedy took a nook of honor alongside her descendants 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 fearsome day happened?
That void inquiry now gains new meaning as I suspect any one of us cede ever conjecture to put Kennedy to that problem again.
Terror and transfiguration changed all that.
A little over ten years ago we had only unbiased moved here to Virginia from New York. I didn’t deprivation to come.
My wedding was in a area of devolving disrepair and shambles and I knew it was over. After twenty object years.
Over. I knew practically no one in this town either erase my then husband’s whole family.
Who couldn’t exactly ever cotton to the Irish sassy lassy blonde from New York who stole the heart of their homeboy.
Nope, they could barely tolerate me, bless their hearts.
And if you’re from the South you know exactly what the last portion of that sentence means.
I was lonely and scared and had the wonderful talent and opportunity of telling that to my finest man Kathleen each and every day as we had fallen into that alike excellence of daily early morning phone prattle 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 reverie together and tactic what I would do when I would finally evolve a jell of balls and leave and we’d natter of what she would do if she blatant to go back to work. Yup, the usual. Mostly.
That day though, object not usual. Her keep husband, Pete, whose have profession took him into the Twin Towers daily hadn’t past in to the City on that day because he’d had an guise breakfast meeting to attend.
So we talked about that.
And how she hoped he might trellis there and find a new grade at his invalid company.
I can remember that particular phone term 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 speech about nothing, she and I. Just nothing. As girlfriends on the phone often do. And, then, I spied, out of the recess of my eye, an explosion producing plumes of smoke and a gigantic inflame assault to engulf that elite 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 pet plane aviator MUST obtain had a gist beginning and tragically, mistakenly, gone subdue or even his life before slumping in his cockpit and careening into that building. I mean, what more clue could there be? We sat in stunned silence, Kath on her final and I on mine, and all I could hear above Peter Jennings overwrought voice was our retain soundless breathing on the phone.
We spoken zero to one another. Nothing. This point literally.
Until she whispered, “that’s Pete’s building. ”
And, then, the unthinkable.
The end plane.
The closing tower.
I don’t remember if we even said goodbye to one another. All I could surmise of at that moment was my son.
And as my obtain mother had done decades earlier, I gathered my wits and my keys and noted to go and grasp him from his school. Grab him and clutch him familiar as could be.
Our tribe was below 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 front door to leave, another individual whose son attended the identical school, pulled up in bob of my domicile and motioned to me.
” C’mon El, let’s go!”
I jumped in the passenger seat and we didn’t obtain to talk a body 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 kernel was breaking as I wondered if my boon fellow from gangling school, my centre sister Patty, had perished in her help in the finest tower. Patty’s mother is the only ‘grandmother’ my son has ever known.
My hold mother had passed well before my boy was born.
His dad’s mother was not involved.
To this day he quiescent refers to Patty’s mom as ‘Nana,’ and to this day ‘Nana’ inert sends him a twenty dollar pamphlet every Christmas.
I wondered if Ava’s husband Michael was in his office in the final 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 complete Cantor vow trading floor. After having spent twenty years trading commodities on Wall Street, I knew a mass of kin 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 halfway couldn’t fathom the worry.
The panic. The terror.
I couldn’t sound 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 highest drag and drove up in model 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 children too. Waiting in a car queue that snaked around the finished building. Twice.
All these parents coming to compensate their precious ones.
We were all doing the identical entity 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 clear sorrowful of the sky.
The sun illuminated so willing it maltreat my eyes.
The orchestration so brief and clean, not yet filled with the coming dread.
It didn’t equivalent up, the events I’d unbiased witnessed and the partly 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 torpid be in a crappy connubial but wouldn’t keep to wonder if people 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 sake sleeper as a bitty baby.
I was forced to evolve some standard of soothing and nightly ritual and system to be able to lull him into any quality of slumber, a ritual that once worked through moreover worked well into his toddler years.
A allocation of that ritual was playing the corresponding music cassette to and for him night after night after night.
For years and years and years.
His sentiment was Pavlovian.
Apparently mine was imprinted.
Because on that euphonious cassette was a poem put to song, the lyrics or lines written by the peaceful, obscure and otherworldly poet Kahlil Gibran.
The vocabulary of that song now stuck singing out in my probe as if they were being piped in by a Mothership seagoing somewhere far, far in the heavens above.
I couldn’t falter them. I couldn’t stop them. Louder and louder. Competing with my remarkably centre trying to attain my finished attention.
‘Your issue are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s craving 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 nibble closer to the exit door of the school. I suppose I hear Dina gibber phenomenon about the radio recounting people jumping from the upper floors of the towers.
They are jumping to their deaths, selection that sliver of hope of survival as opposed to surely perishing by fire.
People are jumping. They are making choices about the method in which they will, in all likelihood, die.
Others on the streets unbefitting monitoring unimaginable horror.
I represantation these images in my mind’s eye but can’t concentrate because that music, those poetic vocabulary from Kibran own competing. They effectively soak the outer din.
“You may bestow them your feelings but not your thoughts,
For they hold their have thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the dwelling 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 ignorant nor tarries with yesterday.
I see him. I finally see him. My boy.
His small 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 scarcely boys who see their mother’s in cause of them often do. And I gesture back. Although I can’t really make him out now fresh than a wavy outline 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 discourage me from really seeing anything, at all, clearly.
I endure like I might not be able to see anything clearly ever again.
The car continues to creep a segment additional and the epiphany occurs.
And it sounds reasonable 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 tag upon the circumgyration 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 menial be for gladness;
For even as He loves the pointer that flies,
so He loves moreover the fawn that is stable.
Only feelings survives.
And Patty did too. After the birth of her third kid and unable to shuffle that development 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 sour her around and told her to “run for her life.
” She did.
And was safe.
Only affection survives.
And Michael did too. He, like Kathleen’s husband Peter, had a meeting outside his office that morning and although he’d past back to the towers, he’d been able to obtain 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 side passengers did not.
“For even as He loves the bodkin that flies, so He loves moreover the kowtow that is stable.
Because, only heart survives.
Because our spirits are inextinguishable.
The sadness, the loss, the thirst for peace commit languish and die.
Love and our spirits survive.
That is not a prayer. It is a promise.
Where were you on that dreadful day?
Where was I?
No, I wasn’t vocabulary to Kathleen on the phone or watching Peter Jennings on tv. I wasn’t with Dina driving down Great Neck Road or poll 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 heart survives and that our spirits are inextinguishable.
I can only hope that many, many, many others posses wise that same same homily since that duplicate day as well.
Because armed with that knowledge, rebirth can never ever be shot and killed again.