Two days before the tenth anniversary of that fateful day in our country, September 11, 2001, memories flood back as the media begins its coverage. Many tragic events have taken place over the years, but for me 9/11 is one of the most heartbreaking.
Over the past decade, I have watched the event being played and replayed, and it is no less horrific now, nor do I believe the impact will lessen, no matter how many more anniversaries of this date are observed. I have heard some say they shouldn’t make such a ‘big deal’ every year – it’s over and done, we need to move on – I strongly disagree. Although it is especially difficult for the families of the victims, I believe it’s necessary, not only to remember those who were lost and the tireless efforts of the first responders, but also to recognize and be aware of the vulnerability of anyone at any given time. Who would have thought that such a thing could happen in our country?
On my first visit to New York in ’04 with my granddaughter, Kate, out of so many venues and events we planned to see, the one ‘must-see’ was ground zero. What a moment it was to actually be there and see it in person. I was amazed that it was such an emotional experience – it looked like pictures you see in war movies – total devastation – indescribable! And then there was the little church across the street from ground zero, St Paul’s Episcopal Chapel, circa mid 1700’s, which turned out to be the highlight of our trip, at least for me.
It was a beautiful old stone building with an arched doorway and small cemetery in the front surrounded by an iron fence. After seeing the small historical sign that said George Washington had worshipped there, I knew I had to see inside. The moment we opened the heavy wooden door, I was overwhelmed – hundreds, maybe thousands of pictures, mementos, fireman and police badges and hats, handmade quilts from all over the country covered tables and walls. Thankfully, there were also boxes of Kleenex scattered about… there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen.
Three years had passed by the time we visited the little chapel and there had been countless people who had come through – in the beginning, it served as a refuge for families, workers, visitors, for rest, food, prayer, whatever the need, its doors were always open. And now it had been turned into a memorial, a sanctuary for the memory of lost loved ones. That was a special day for Kate and me – the memory of it remains in my mind and heart and is always more vivid at this time each year.I feel a connection and an obligation to these people, those who were taken and those who remain. We were all created by the same God, each of us a small part of the whole. On Sunday, the tenth anniversary of this fateful event, I will as always have my Kleenex handy as I watch the ceremonies at the new World Trade Center site. Time has not lessened the sadness of it all, but time does remind us how thankful we should be to live in this awesome country.
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you - I welcome yours. May God continue to bless our nation, and may God bless us - every one.