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For life goes not illiterate 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 number of refreshed and restored hope to a tribe that had been bruised, bloodied and battered by two next 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 barrow and killed it.
On the day that John F. Kennedy was killed, ironically, I was the exact alike age and in the exact equivalent 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 cushioning us all up, one by one, as some took our hands while others reached for their framework handkerchiefs pulling them out from some question quiescent niche unbefitting the stomach of their threatening and white habits.
Never showing outright emotion, those nuns would quickly, halfway 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 lot led by another recluse who had no intention of holding her harm back. Her crying kept us all stillness in our concern.
And then I remember my mother silently sobbing the finished case she drove all of us back home.
Back to the domicile that had oil portraits of all four of her successors and one of President Kennedy himself hanging in our living room. As if he were somehow blood of our blood.
John Kennedy took a place of honor alongside her family on the living room walls while the portrait of the Pope hung in a less prestigious vocation in the dining one.
And so was the pecking rule in my Irish Catholic household.
Where were you when that formidable day happened?
That former inquiry now gains new meaning as I waver any one of us leave ever imagine to put Kennedy to that query again.
Terror and transfiguration changed all that.
A infrequently over ten years ago we had only reasonable moved here to Virginia from New York. I didn’t want to come.
My conjugal was in a state of devolving disrepair and shambles and I knew it was over. After twenty body years.
Over. I knew practically no one in this town either except my then husband’s perfect family.
Who couldn’t exactly ever cotton to the Irish sassy lassy blonde from New York who stole the soul 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 allowance of that sentence means.
I was lonely and scared and had the wonderful facility and opportunity of telling that to my first person Kathleen each and every day as we had fallen into that identical merit of daily early morning phone chat routine.
I’d already dropped my son at his kindergarten that September 11 morning and would come home to call Kath, as usual, so that we could fantasy together and plan what I would do when I would finally evolve a crystallize of balls and drop and we’d chatter of what she would do if she decided to go back to work. Yup, the usual. Mostly.
That day though, phenomenon not usual. Her keep husband, Pete, whose posses calling took him into the Twin Towers daily hadn’t former 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 lattice there and find a new grade at his obsolete company.
I can remember that particular phone label 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 crevice of my eye, an explosion producing plumes of smoke and a monstrous kindle onslaught 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 internal facet aviator MUST keep had a heart assault and tragically, mistakenly, misplaced subdue or even his life before slumping in his cockpit and careening into that building. I mean, what supplementary guide could there be? We sat in stunned silence, Kath on her closing and I on mine, and all I could hear above Peter Jennings stretched voice was our retain peaceful breathing on the phone.
We said nothing to one another. Nothing. This point literally.
Until she whispered, “that’s Pete’s building. ”
And, then, the unthinkable.
The closing plane.
The latter tower.
I don’t remember if we even said goodbye to one another. All I could conjecture of at that moment was my son.
And as my have mother had done decades earlier, I gathered my wits and my keys and clear to go and catch him from his school. Grab him and clutch him recognized as could be.
Our tribe was under 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 fellow whose son attended the alike school, pulled up in lead of my habitat and motioned to me.
” C’mon El, let’s go!”
I jumped in the passenger seat and we didn’t posses to say a phenomenon 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 top fellow from colossal school, my marrow sister Patty, had perished in her aid in the prime tower. Patty’s mother is the only ‘grandmother’ my son has ever known.
My own mother had passed well before my guy was born.
His dad’s mother was not involved.
To this day he dormant refers to Patty’s mom as ‘Nana,’ and to this day ‘Nana’ quiescent sends him a twenty dollar flyer every Christmas.
I wondered if Ava’s husband Michael was in his office in the second tower that morning. I am the godmother to their youngeset daughter Paige.
My extended families.
And, then, there were the friends.
I knew midpoint the absolute Cantor attestation trading floor. After having spent twenty years trading commodities on Wall Street, I knew a mountain of kinsfolk posting buy/sells in that building. Did they survive? Were they alive? Were their families watching these horrific scenes gambit out the identical style I had been watching? I nearly couldn’t fathom 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 cause of Broad Bay Manor. I don’t comprehend why, but we hadn’t expected what we saw. There, in the parking stack was a throng of parents waiting for their tiny heirs too. Waiting in a car succession that snaked around the absolute building. Twice.
All these parents coming to recover their precious ones.
We were all doing the identical something that my posses mother had done all those many years ago when innocence shattered shook this country.
I look around for my son.
I notice the recognizeable melancholy of the sky.
The sun radiant so open it harm my eyes.
The orchestration so concise and clean, not yet filled with the coming dread.
It didn’t match up, the events I’d reasonable witnessed and the halfway Divine perfection of the day.
It didn’t go together. Maybe it wasn’t real? Maybe it didn’t transpire after all? Maybe I would wake up and passive be in a crappy married but wouldn’t have to wonder if relatives 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 gain sleeper as a bitty baby.
I was forced to grow some sort of soothing and nightly ritual and means to be able to lull him into any level of slumber, a ritual that once worked through also worked well into his toddler years.
A part of that ritual was playing the equivalent tune cassette to and for him night after night after night.
For years and years and years.
His passion was Pavlovian.
Apparently mine was imprinted.
Because on that dulcet cassette was a poem put to song, the lyrics or lines written by the peaceful, cryptic and otherworldly poet Kahlil Gibran.
The language of that song now stuck singing out in my probe as if they were being piped in by a Mothership yachting somewhere far, far in the heavens above.
I couldn’t shamble them. I couldn’t cease them. Louder and louder. Competing with my very kernel trying to secure my full attention.
‘Your heirs 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 crumb closer to the exit door of the school. I believe I hear Dina chatter body about the radio recounting kinsfolk 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 system in which they will, in all likelihood, die.
Others on the streets under policing unimaginable horror.
I delineation these images in my mind’s eye but can’t concentrate because that music, those poetic conversation from Kibran retain competing. They effectively saturate the outer din.
“You may donate them your heart but not your thoughts,
For they hold their keep thoughts.
You may abode their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house 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 crude nor tarries with yesterday.
I see him. I finally see him. My boy.
His meagre 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 hardly boys who see their mother’s in bob of them often do. And I indicate back. Although I can’t really make him out now supplementary than a wavy summary since the tears in my eyes, tears of gratitude, tears of rapture 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 touch like I might not be able to see anything decidedly ever again.
The car continues to creep a crumb more and the epiphany occurs.
And it sounds impartial 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 docket upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go fast and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s menial be for gladness;
For even as He loves the needle that flies,
so He loves moreover the bow that is stable.
Only heart survives.
And Patty did too. After the birth of her third infant and unable to shuffle that ripening 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 tainted her around and told her to “run for her life.
” She did.
And was safe.
Only love survives.
And Michael did too. He, like Kathleen’s husband Peter, had a meeting guise his office that morning and although he’d past back to the towers, he’d been able to earn out of Manhattan and eventually make it home safely as well.
Only heart 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 pointer that flies, so He loves also the grovel that is stable.
Because, only heart survives.
Because our spirits are inextinguishable.
The sadness, the loss, the yearning for stillness entrust fade 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 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 scholarship firsthand that only feelings survives and that our spirits are inextinguishable.
I can only hope that many, many, many others retain wise that twin same discourse since that duplicate day as well.
Because armed with that knowledge, rebirth can never ever be shot and killed again.