Sunday, September 11, 2011

Time Doesn't Heal All Wounds

I can't believe it's been ten years already; it still feels as stunning, fresh, and painful as it was a decade ago.  The shock, the anger, the sorrow, the sadness, the disbelief, the inability to comprehend why, the fear...Those things have not faded with time.  In fact, as I write this, I've already had to wipe away some tears, unclench my fists after my hands involuntarily closed into a defensive yet aggressive configuration, and close my eyes and take deep breaths to try to corral my focus.

I was a junior in high school sitting in the second row of the fourth aisle from the classroom door in Mrs. Waite's second period British Literature class.  That morning, walking into school from the bus, it was a gorgeous day, excepting the fact that it was the day of the summer reading essay test.  As I sat in my chair scribbling my thoughts on the lined paper, Mrs. Waite left the room momentarily.  I barely noticed because I was so focused on my task.  Shortly thereafter, the door opened, and she came back in.  She told us that a plane had hit one of the towers and that we should keep working.  I tried to keep my focus, but I was utterly incapable.  Thoughts about what might have happened and why consumed me. 

During fifth period orchestra class, Mr. Schaberg had a television in the room tooned into CNN.  This was by far the most heartwrenching experience I've ever had.  I sat there watching in a state of emotional paralysis; I didn't know what I was feeling, and I wish I could do a better job of describing it, but words capable of conveying it simply do not exist.  Some classmates around me broke down crying as the footage rolled, unsure whether they would ever see their loved ones again.  It is by far the most helpless I've ever felt.  Seeing friends in such need where I could do nothing to help was awful.

As the day progressed, my feelings started to come together and evolve.  Watching first responders running to a near certain death to try to help their fellow countrymen filled me with an incredible pride and a completely new respect for all of them.  Their instinctive bravery inspires me to this day.  The same can be said for those aboard United 93.  They willingly sacrificed themselves to protect you and to protect me...all of us.

I wanted to leave this part out when I began to write, but I am unable to keep the anger and frustration at bay.  I find it barbaric to celebrate anyone's death, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have one of the best sleeps of my life on May 2, 2011.

I pray that I never have to experience anything like this ever again.


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