Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering September 11th–Why Our Stories Are Important

I know there are a lot of stories and memorials being shared, today.  To say it was a pivotal moment in history would be an injustice to honoring those who perished, those who worked around-the-clock to save lives, those who were stunned by what we never thought would happen on American soil.

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(After Y2K – Many of us thought the next millennium would be a celebration.  I saved this newspaper to document that passage.  My heart wouldn’t let me hang on to what was about to follow.)

I almost didn’t post, today.  So many other stories were already circulating.  I even saw a comment, in social media – “I’ll do you a favor, I won’t share my boring 911 story if you don’t share yours.”  My thoughts went into a million different directions and with the emotions to follow. 

9-11-2001 - I was on my way to meet with new clients who were driving in from out-of-town to begin the process of a major paint update, among other things.  I was grabbing my bag of samples when I glanced back at the TV to see “Breaking News”.  I know in today’s world, that can mean anything and it’s highly overused, but in 2001, it really did mean something drastic was happening in order to interrupt a major news show with even more news.  I couldn’t quite get the jest of it and I didn’t want to be late.

I was driving down the peaceful back roads of where I live when my cell phone rang.  A friend was crying and saying, “We’re being attacked, we’re being attacked!”  I kept asking her what was happening and then she cried, “The World Trade Center tower is collapsing”.  Of course, I don’t need to continue as you know the rest of the story. 

I was trying to decide if I should keep driving or if I should go on.  I was already almost to my destination and so I thought if things got worse, I would meet these clients and we would decide what to do, then.  They had been listening to recorded music so they had no idea of what was occurring. 

We soldiered through the meeting while the painters were trying to find news on their radio, since the house was empty.  It was surreal as to what was happening in our world.  It felt like the day Earth stopped turning. 

I couldn’t imagine what the families being directly affected were going through . . . what the rescuers were experiencing.  The heroes on Flight 93.  The Pentagon workers.  All I could experience was the hollow silence of sitting at a local sandwich shop, with fellow diners and fellow Americans, where I went to see the news. 

I tried to catch up on the events, via their little screen.  There was no Twitter, no Facebook, no WI-FI for finding out more information.  It was like attending a funeral.  Something had died in all of us and we were there, total strangers in mourning, and yet we were also joined by our heartache.


Perhaps people think “it’s over”, we should pick up and move on.  Of course, living in the past doesn’t provide us with our present.  I always say it’s not a good idea to drive a car, while looking backwards. 

But for one day, out-of-the-year, let us tell our stories, let us remember and let us connect back to a moment where, for better or for worse the wear, we stood together.  No matter our beliefs, our gender, our race, our creeds, our politics or any of our differences. 

And let us listen to the stories.  They ARE how people heal.

All my best ~ Wanda

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