Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 11, 2001—a journal entry

It's been nine years... unbelievable.

During the summer of 2001, I began writing a journal, just to document my family's lives at a time when the brood was still quite young. I'd always been told, "You need to write this stuff down or you'll forget it." The kids were constantly doing and saying cute and crazy things, so every couple of days, beginning in August, I jotted my thoughts down on a yellow legal pad. 

A few days ago, I dug the pad out of a pile of papers on the lower shelf of the bookcase and sat down with it. My writing style was a bit choppier and less edited, but it's nonetheless a record of that slice of time. 

Tomorrow is the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and here's what was going through the mind of a 39-year-old husband and father to six-year-old and sixteen-month-old daughters, on September 12, 2001:

It's been an incredible last couple of days. Yesterday started out great. The weather was beautiful, Terri and I had the day off and I was just done dropping Zoe off at school on my way to the gym. I switched on the radio and seemed to have tuned in during some sort of special report. By the time I arrived at the gym approximately ten minutes later, the story had unfolded: four jetliners had been hijacked. Two flew Kamikaze-style into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the fourth crash outside of Pittsburgh. The reporter emphasized that the Twin Towers were completely gone—toppled.

As I drove, I looked at other drivers, most of whom had the same zombie-like expressions on their faces as I'm sure I had. At the gym, every TV showed footage of the WTC disaster. It looked like the special effect ending of some Tom Clancy movie starring Bruce Willis. The second jet seemed to have been swallowed whole by the enormous building, only to transform both entities into a separate, flaming monster. It was beyond words, as I'm sure these words can't describe the event in any way.

As I sit here, it's still sinking in. I think this is the most profound event that has occurred during my lifetime. Nothing will ever be the same again. It's almost as if the last particle of innocence has evaporated from the planet. If people are willing to resort to this kind of  barbarism, how can our borders pretend to protect us?

Right now, I really don't think our government knows what to do. It's all set to fight a war against a big, visible enemy with planes and tanks and guns. How are they going to fight faceless terrorists without a country? Time will tell.

Indeed, time will tell.

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