Heat All Around

Thursday, September 9, 2010

9/11 Nine Years and yet Just yesterday

I remember that day. I was in my car listening to the Country Western Channel having just dropped my daughter off at work. I had driven to a local Five and Ten store after that because I would be starting a new teaching assignment on the 24th and had a lot to do to prepare myself.

I'm a Special Ed teacher. I have a Master Degree in Special Education and a Teacher of the Handicapped License. I had almost finished up my Bachelor's Degree earning a dual degree in Psychology and Sociology when I'd found myself substitute teaching in a classroom run by my mentor Bill Riches.

Bill taught children with Down Syndrome and in learning from him I found my calling, so back to school I went, determined to be the caring, brilliant teacher Bill showed me I could possibly become

Bill had been in a car accident the week before September 11th...a bad one. The school brought in a substitute teacher, but Bill was not coming back and by law they can only keep a sub for three weeks. I was their choice and Bill's to step in and become his replacement.

I remember feeling happy trawling and sad through the construction paper, glue and safety scissors. I was on top of the world about having my classroom and saddened I got it from my friend's tragedy. Till, with Bill's tacit approval, I could not imagine how my world could be more perfect. I'd be filling the shoes of the man I so admired.

I paid for my purchases, left the store, climbed back into my car, turned the key and heard the two morning show hosts talking weird stuff about a plane just flying into the World Trade Center in New York. I waited for the punch line certain it was a joke. Those two told some of the most outrageous stories. I waited. No punchline came. I waited some more. They repeated it. I got pissed. Okay, let's hear the punchline. By now I am home, and not the least happy with them for telling a sick joke and not getting to the punchline.

Up into my apartment I trudge, unloaded my things, flipped on the TV and had the air literally knocked out of my lungs as they showed the second plane fly into the Towers. Unsteadily, I sink to the hassock, my body beginning to tremble, my eyes wide, my mouth gaping, my hands shaking. What the hell? This can NOT be happening?

I am frozen, unable to move, my eyes beginning to fill. I can't take it in. People begin jumping from the upper levels of the Towers choosing that death to the incinerating death speeding their way.

My thoughts turn to my children. My daughter is safe, but my son worked just this side of the river. Was he safe? No one could tell how far from Ground Zero the destruction had spread.

With fingers cold with fear, I punched in my Son's cell phone number and nothing...no signal, no ring, no voice mail. Oh Dear God! NO!

Glued to the set I watch hell unfold before my eyes. Tears that I was not even aware I was crying were streaming down my face, and I wasn't even sure whom I was crying for...my son whom I would not reach until the next day, or the multitude of ravaged faces, covered in ash frantically looking for their owned loved ones in that mayhem?

I was a zombie when I had to drive to pick my daughter back up, but when I looked upon her approaching face, my eyes shut very tightly and I sent up a prayer of thanks to My God for sparing this beautiful child who is the very air that fills my lungs and an equally heartfelt one for all those who would not be embracing their beloved heartbeat's core when the dust settled long after this night turned into history's nightmare.

My son it seems had been safely on this side of the bridge, but rather than heading safely south, he crossed the bridge and forged his way into the devastation determined to help all that he could. I did not hear from him until 6:15 P.M. the following night when he could finally get a signal on his cell phone to call me. Once more I felt my knees wobble and had to thrust myself down onto that same hassock that had born my stunned body the day before.

Nine years have now passed...yet not a single emotion has been forgotten...and I still tear up and mourn our Country's loss of innocence, and the nightmarish vision of seeing those desperate souls leaping to their death as the Towers burned around them.



Ginger Simpson said...

Beautiful tribute, Lin. Every time our President bows to a Muslim leader, I cringe. Yes, there are good among them, but the hatred surrounding 9/11 festered here in our own country and is chanted around the world. We are hated simply because we are Americans and we'll be forever in danger as long as the radical Jihadist follow the Koran and honestly believe that anyone who doesn't share the faith to their extent must be killed. I fear for our grandchildren because no one seems to recognize the apparent threat blossoming on our own soil. Al-Queda training camps in our own back yards? Google "Known terrorist training camps in the U.S." You'll be shocked.

Lin said...

No Sweetheart, I won't. I wish I could say that I would be. Hate is a festering sickness and it feeds like all septic poisons.

MuseItUp Publishing said...

I remember opening my salon that day when my husband called me to open up my TV. I wasn't sure what I was seeing. At that point I felt devastated for those poor people who were stuck so high with the fire surrounding them.

Then it happened...

that second plane and I plopped on the chair in total uncertainty what I was seeing.

To all that died that horrible day I say a prayer.

Roseanne Dowell said...

That day will long be remembered. Great tribute, Lin.



Charlie said...

What a wonderful tribute. I watched in horror from the middle of the country...I couldn't imagine what you must have felt being there. I pray for all those affected by this: those whose lives were cut short, those who were injured physically, emotionally, and spiritually, all those that love them. This attrocity hit us all, every age. My daughter was a 5th grader and wrote a poem with such depth and feeling, I was in awe. Yes, this affected us all but the last verse of my daughter's poem gives us hope....
But no man can take away
Our Free land
We have our liberties
and United We Still Stand.

They died not in vain because we will always remember them, love them, honor them and they made our lives better because they were here!

9 11 - always remember.

Lin said...

Kat is planning to do her own posting later and I plan to do a part two because the story did not end with the disintigration of the Towers , the heroism in Pennslvania, and unrest caused by Washington's vulnerability, followed by the horrific excavation of ash, bone and innocense. It continues on...as does the impact it had on all of us...world wide...so there is more to say, and tomorrow I will say it.

Lin said...

Charlie, out of the mouths of our Babe's come such incredible words of wisdom.

Christine London said...

Extremist behaviors that bastardizes the banner of any religion are the most vile of acts. Every world religion has historically had and still has its share of extremists and those who misinterpret their religion's most basic tennants. God weeps when those he gave the gift of free choice use the pursuit of Him for evil.

It is exactly for these reasons that we all need to redouble our intent and efforts to be inclusive of people of all faiths and those who call themsleves agnostics. It is the individual that chooses good or evil--not God or any of the planet's major religions. There is no room for hatred associated with God. No room for retributive acts committed out of ignorance or fear.

May tomorrow be a day of rememberance and peace in the name of love and understanding.

Thanks for sharing your heart, Lin.

Christine London

Rhobin said...

Thank you for sharing you very personal account, it brought back many memories. I'm glad your family escaped harm's way.

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

I was watching TV when it happened for several minutes I thought the silly thin had switched channels on me some how and I was watching some horrible movie. when I could no longer refuse to believe my eyes--there are very few times in my life when I have cried that hard. My husband was on the road that day and didn't know until he called in the afternoon. I could barely tell him coherently why I couldn't stop the tears. It is those who twist words of faith from love to hate that drive so many away from religion of any kind. the gods they claimed to represent will have no use for them.

Karen Cioffi said...

I cry just thinking about. My older daughter was in Manhattan, just getting to work when it happened. Not being able to reach her by phone . . .

She and thousands of others walked to the 59th street bridge to get out of Manhattan.

Beautiful tribute, Lin - thanks for sharing.

Lin said...

Thank you for sharing back. It isn't just one person's story. We all lost something deep that day and in the days that followed. I am glad your daughter walked out. And Larianne, memories of that day and the days and events that folowed, still bring me to tears all these years later.

Kevin Hopson said...

I couldn't agree more, Christine. Today I pray for all who lost their lives on 9/11, no matter what the victims’ religious beliefs were. Some people claim that religious tolerance is a sign of weakness for this country. I beg to differ. I know many Muslims, including my wife, and Islam does not represent what a select few did to us on 9/11. In my opinion, it takes a stronger person to accept and respect other races, religions, cultures, etc. I believe ignorant people are the ones who make this country weaker. The U.S. is built on diversity, and tolerance for others should be encouraged. Obviously, I do not support those who have harmed this country or those who wish to. However, stereotyping a religion based on the actions of a minority is not right. The same could be applied to other religions, even Christianity. I like to believe we, as Americans, are better than this.

Chelle Cordero said...

Thank you for sharing these very emotional memories with us Lin - I am happy that you had both of your children safely after this horrid devastation.

I also admire your commitment not to further hatred.

Although I know several families who suffered unimaginable loss that day, my own family remained safe that day. But I too remember the horror of realizing how different things would have been if appointments were a day later or if talked about coffee klotches actually happened.

My husband had been at a job down at 7 WTC the day before and I remember a fear-filled phone call from my son (in HS where he should not have had his cell phone) to find out "where dad is?" - the fear is in voice that day still echoes in my mind.

G-d bless America - G-d bless humanity.

Lin said...

Chelle, those sounds of fear that our loved ones were still alive and safe will remain with us, I believe forever.

I have never understood why anyone who believes God is Love would in the next breath damn one race, one nation, one gender, one person guilty of acts that God would condone murder. In His name throughout history too many have died.

I read something when I was sixteen. It was in the preface of the book Many Mansions by Dr. Gina Cerminara writing about the life of Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet...she said...and I am paraphrasing here, "we are taught God is the Supreme being of Love, and we are all his children...can a parent damn one of his/her children to Hell? If WE can't, who are less than the Supreme being that is God, damn our cherished children to such eternal anguish, no matter what they may have done that we as parents do not agree with, how can God, who loves so much more than we do?"

Those words are engraved on my heart and soul because they rang true. If God created everything, then God created EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. I am no more special than my brother down the lane, or across the world, or the Universe...so ultimately, we are all of us Family beneath the skin because our souls ALL of our souls belong to God's family.

Kevin, you and your wife are God's beacons. You opened your hearts and shared the deepest parts of your spirits with us. Bless you both for all you have shared with those of us at Muse, and now here on my Blog. I am so honored you did so. I pray for the three of you and those extended from you who are handling your world every single day.

I am 1/4 Cherokee, and 3/4 everything else, but I am 100% God's daughter, and that I share with every other soul that has passed or is still to pass this way.

Lin said...

Chelle, I am deeply honored you shared your own memories. I don't think any of us will forget the fear that day instilled in all of us as we waited with our hearts and souls in our throats to hear that our loved ones were okay...nor should we, I think.

Kevin, I bless you and your wife. You'd already opened your story to those of us at Muse. I am honored you came to my blog and shared even more. You have touched me deeply and I pray every day for you, your wife, Aydin, and those who by extension have been effected by Aydin's moments among us.

Love to All who took the time to read Kat and my story, and to all who posted too. Your words, thoughts, memories will be cherished by both of us forever.