Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eleven Years Ago...

Eleven years ago, the world as we knew it was shattered.  The fanatical hatred of a few took the lives of many and altered reality for all.  This is my generation's event akin to President Kennedy's assassination or Pearl Harbor.  Those of us who were old enough to be conscious of what was happening will never forget where we were, what we were doing, who we were with, or what we thought.

For some reason, though, this anniversary brought it back stronger than even last year's 10th anniversary hullabaloo.  Maybe it's because we'd passed a significant number and I felt more complacent.  Maybe it's because it was another Tuesday morning, just like it was in 2001.  Whatever the reason, I had a terribly nervous feeling this morning as I was driving to class.  I am so glad that it was all for naught and that there was no huge re-enactment of the atrocities, but I couldn't shake the feeling that this year was different somehow.  I don't think I'm the only one because I seem to be reading more Facebook posts and news stories this year about where people were and what ceremonies are taking place.  Maybe I just couldn't handle it last year and tuned it out.

My story isn't anything special or riveting or poignant.  I was 19 and working as a bank teller in 2001, and I was blissfully unaware that morning as I watched Disney cartoons before work and listened to -- and sang passionately along with -- a Disney CD in my car. I got to work around 7:15 a.m. (I was usually a few minutes late) and waited for my coworker to arrive so we could open the bank vault and open the drive-up. I saw my coworker outside talking to the ATM maintenance lady and wondered, a little irritated, why she didn't just come inside already -- it wasn't like her to be late or to slack off. When she came inside she told me what little she knew about what was happening in New York City. The entire day we were all watching the news online between customers and the bosses dug up a tiny black-and-white TV to set up behind the teller line. When my shift ended at 12:15 I headed home and watched the news for the rest of the day, surely crying (though I don't really remember) and masochistically thirsting for information -- searching for some sign that it was all some cruel hoax or a nightmare. My sister was in high school and I went to pick her up around 3. We were both dumbstruck.  I think I was supposed to work at the Disney Store in the mall that evening -- or maybe I just talked to my boss on the phone -- but they closed the mall, I remember that much.  There was nothing to do but watch and listen and cry.

I don't personally know anybody who was killed in the attacks, but with such a long list of names representing people who remain unaccounted for I still find this postcard chilling and a bit reassuring.  Maybe that's just me, but this secret has had a strong effect on everyone who's seen it.  I feel compelled to share it here.  I hope it comforts those who may need it and does not upset anyone unduly.

Originally from PostSecret.com, found archived here.

Okay, that's all I can handle.  I need to go do some homework, cry a little bit, and go to bed.  For those of you waiting for an update on how classes are going, I promise I'll update again soon.  This week.  Promise.

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