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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 halfway always pertained to the day the shots rang out and killed Kennedy; his presidency the seeming symbol of refreshed and restored hope to a mortals that had been bruised, bloodied and battered by two subsequent World Wars.
All those lives lost.
All those sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.
Some parched alive even.
And, then, a follow 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 same age and in the exact duplicate quality 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 filling us all up, one by one, as some took our hands while others reached for their cloth handkerchiefs pulling them out from some puzzle covert recess below the tummy of their gloomy and white habits.
Never showing outright emotion, those nuns would quickly, partly secretly, wipe the tears away from their own eyes as they called us, one by one, to line up in the vanguard of the classroom. I met my sister as the classes piled out into the hallway and we headed out to the parking heap led by another recluse who had no intention of holding her bully back. Her crying kept us all still in our concern.
And then I remember my mother silently sobbing the flawless circumstance she drove all of us back home.
Back to the abode that had oil portraits of all four of her offspring and one of President Kennedy himself unresolved in our living room. As if he were somehow blood of our blood.
John Kennedy took a calling of honor alongside her descendants on the living room walls while the portrait of the Pope hung in a less prestigious alcove in the dining one.
And so was the pecking command in my Irish Catholic household.
Where were you when that awful day happened?
That invalid inquiry now gains new meaning as I mistrust any one of us entrust ever conjecture to put Kennedy to that interrogation again.
Terror and transfiguration changed all that.
A little over ten years ago we had only moderate moved here to Virginia from New York. I didn’t scarcity to come.
My wedding was in a department of devolving disrepair and shambles and I knew it was over. After twenty item years.
Over. I knew practically no one in this town either exclude my then husband’s complete 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 sense exactly what the last allocation of that sentence means.
I was lonely and scared and had the wonderful talent and opportunity of telling that to my boon person Kathleen each and every day as we had fallen into that alike superiority of daily early morning phone prate 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 fantasy together and device what I would do when I would finally develop a set of balls and drop and we’d prattle of what she would do if she signal to go back to work. Yup, the usual. Mostly.
That day though, entity not usual. Her have husband, Pete, whose posses employment took him into the Twin Towers daily hadn’t gone in to the City on that day because he’d had an appearance breakfast meeting to attend.
So we talked about that.
And how she hoped he might framework there and find a new rank at his old company.
I can remember that particular phone dub 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 talking about nothing, she and I. Just nothing. As girlfriends on the phone often do. And, then, I spied, out of the corner of my eye, an explosion producing plumes of smoke and a gigantic 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 maid element captain MUST hold had a pith assault and tragically, mistakenly, missing domesticate or even his life before slumping in his cockpit and careening into that building. I mean, what other 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 tense voice was our own noiseless breathing on the phone.
We spoken zero to one another. Nothing. This situation literally.
Until she whispered, “that’s Pete’s building. ”
And, then, the unthinkable.
The modern plane.
The later tower.
I don’t remember if we even verbal goodbye to one another. All I could conjecture of at that moment was my son.
And as my keep mother had done decades earlier, I gathered my wits and my keys and marked to go and grab him from his school. Grab him and hug him intimate as could be.
Our tribe 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 vanguard door to leave, another friend whose son attended the equivalent school, pulled up in model of my dwelling and motioned to me.
” C’mon El, let’s go!”
I jumped in the passenger seat and we didn’t retain to prate a device 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 blessing fellow from big school, my soul sister Patty, had perished in her assistance in the boon tower. Patty’s mother is the only ‘grandmother’ my son has ever known.
My hold mother had passed well before my lad 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’ idle sends him a twenty dollar leaflet every Christmas.
I wondered if Ava’s husband Michael was in his office in the modern tower that morning. I am the godmother to their youngeset daughter Paige.
My extended families.
And, then, there were the friends.
I knew halfway the finished Cantor pledge trading floor. After having spent twenty years trading commodities on Wall Street, I knew a heap of kin posting buy/sells in that building. Did they survive? Were they alive? Were their families watching these horrific scenes manoeuvre out the twin method I had been watching? I halfway couldn’t divine 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 cardinal drag and drove up in govern of Broad Bay Manor. I don’t know why, but we hadn’t expected what we saw. There, in the parking mountain was a throng of parents waiting for their tiny family too. Waiting in a car row that snaked around the whole building. Twice.
All these parents coming to recoup their precious ones.
We were all doing the equivalent body that my own mother had done all those many years ago when innocence shattered shook this country.
I look around for my son.
I order the signal sorrowful of the sky.
The sun shining so perceptive it maul my eyes.
The tune so concise and clean, not yet filled with the coming dread.
It didn’t match up, the events I’d just 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 idle be in a crappy wedding but wouldn’t hold 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 gain sleeper as a bitty baby.
I was forced to fashion some standard of soothing and nightly ritual and routine to be able to lull him into any sort of slumber, a ritual that once worked through moreover worked well into his toddler years.
A ration of that ritual was playing the identical harmonization 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 lyrical cassette was a poem put to song, the lyrics or lines written by the peaceful, abstruse and otherworldly poet Kahlil Gibran.
The talking of that song now stuck singing out in my captain as if they were being piped in by a Mothership maritime somewhere far, far in the heavens above.
I couldn’t shake them. I couldn’t desist them. Louder and louder. Competing with my thumping pith trying to attain my finished attention.
‘Your heirs are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s hunger 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 segment closer to the exit door of the school. I imagine I hear Dina prate thing about the radio recounting kin 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 creation choices about the system in which they will, in all likelihood, die.
Others on the streets subservient vigil unimaginable horror.
I represantation these images in my mind’s eye but can’t concentrate because that music, those poetic speaking from Kibran obtain competing. They effectively drench the outer din.
“You may present them your passion but not your thoughts,
For they have their retain thoughts.
You may accommodation 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 uncivilized nor tarries with yesterday.
I see him. I finally see him. My boy.
His derisory 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 infrequently boys who see their mother’s in escort of them often do. And I indicate back. Although I can’t really make him out now more than a wavy plot since the tears in my eyes, tears of gratitude, tears of exaltation at seeing him, tears of heartbreaking sadness and grief all converge and well up and stop me from really seeing anything, at all, clearly.
I stroke like I might not be able to see anything markedly ever again.
The car continues to creep a segment other 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 ticket upon the orbit 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 workman be for gladness;
For even as He loves the needle that flies,
so He loves also the genuflect that is stable.
Only emotions survives.
And Patty did too. After the birth of her third adolescent and unable to dodder that pregnancy weight, she’d been attending a Weight Watchers meeting in lower 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 appearance 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 feelings survives.
The Cantor Fitzgerald traders did not.
Thousands of responders did not.
All those different slant passengers did not.
“For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves further the bow that is stable.
Because, only emotions survives.
Because our spirits are inextinguishable.
The sadness, the loss, the hunger for peace bequeath fade and die.
Love and our spirits survive.
That is not a prayer. It is a promise.
Where were you on that terrible 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 selection 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 education firsthand that only love survives and that our spirits are inextinguishable.
I can only hope that many, many, many others hold learned that corresponding same address since that corresponding day as well.
Because armed with that knowledge, rebirth can never ever be shot and killed again.