Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years. Seventy years.

There are days I wish I had the talent as a writer to pour out my heart in words, to have the reader feel what I'm feeling.  I wish I had artistic talent to paint, or sing, or photograph and record and describe the emotions in a way other could understand.  Though I know I can't do the day and the memories justice, I do want to share some thoughts.

I wonder, is this how my grandparents felt when they heard about Pearl Harbor?  Without today's instant media coverage, our grandparents were spared a play-by-play, the speculation and the video coverage of friends, family and strangers' last moments.  My thoughts linger on families that received calls from planes, from the towers, helpless other than to say goodbye.  Compare those final calls to the sailors who may have scribbled notes and scratched messages while they were trapped on the USS Oklahoma for two days following the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Would it ease your mind to imagine your loved one's final moments, or to know the details?  What would those men have said if cell phones existed in 1941?  The days the families spent searching NYC hospitals mirror the days families spent waiting for a telegram or a knock at the door to confirm their worst fears.  The site of the WTC towers and the ships on the floor of Pearl Harbor, the final resting place for men and women whose families will never be able to bring their bodies home to their traditional family plots.   

Even as we remember the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01, it is slowly becoming a part of our history.  The horror of that day lives on vividly in the minds of those who lived through it, but it is now a history lesson to children too young to remember or born since that day, just like December 7, 1941 is a history lesson for most of the country now that nearly 70 years have passed.  Are the memories going to be as fresh and as raw another 60 years from today?  Who will mark these anniversaries as those who remember the day grow old and pass away?

Though we were in a state of shock as a country ten years ago, I honestly feel more closely touched this year.  Ten years ago I thought it would be sad to lose a husband in the attacks.  Now I have a husband whom I love more than life and the thought of losing him is so gut-wrenching it nearly makes me vomit.  Back then I thought I knew love.  Now I can see how young and silly I was.  Ten years ago, I didn't think twice about children.  Now I have two little boys and one on the way, and I stop breathing thinking of the parents who had to explain to a toddler that Mommy or Daddy isn't coming home anymore.  The country changed ten years ago, but it's taken me ten years to catch up.   

My writings can't truly embody all the emotions of this anniversary, but here I have tried to honor the men and women who lost their lives that day and the families they left behind.

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