it’s so hard to believe it was 10 years ago. i was walking my dog in brentwood, another beautiful morning on the westside, a day like any other. a neighbor asked if i had seen the news. there was a horrible accident in new york. i took hershey home and turned on the tv. i was trying to get my head around what i was seeing when the second plane hit. in that moment, we all knew. this was something bigger, something darker. in that moment, there was an international gasp. in that moment, everything changed.
it was one of those seminal moments in human history. when all we knew or thought we knew was lost forever. when the best and the worst of people came to light. when the courage and heroism of first responders and of ordinary citizens moved you to tears. when the loss of life and the loss of hope was so overwhelming, you didn’t know what to do. when the devastation wrought by a small group of young men in 4 planes was too much to bear. what was happening? were we really under attack? time stood still, as the images replayed over and over.
and then, when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the towers fell. even now, a decade later, remembering that moment, it is hard to breathe. the massive cloud. the ashen people. the darkness. i thought about all those souls. the firemen, climbing up, up, up as everyone else descended. it was all too much. and it still is.
in the following days and weeks, it felt like america was at a crossroads. the world was united with us. which path would we take? the newly created homeland security and their color coded chart did little to alleviate our fears. it was the people who came together – giving what they could. consoling each other. posting photos of their missing loved ones. trying, against all odds, to not give up hope.
last night, for the first time since 2001, i watched documentaries. the images still inconceivable. all those moments of horror and disbelief and rage and sadness. of heroism and unity and collective grief. and now, 10 years later, so much has been lost. shock and awe. so many lives in iraq and afghanistan. and at some level, the very core of our civil liberties.
10 years. maybe it’s too soon to know how that day really changed us. all we can do is remember that feeling of wanting to do more. to be more. to unite as citizens of the world. to nurture that sense of community we all felt in those days following september 11th. life has grown more difficult, so many of us struggling financially, but the core of us, the soul of us, is still there, flickering deep down as it was on that fateful day. the best remembrance of all that was lost may be to renew our compassion and try to live our lives as we did a decade ago. to remind ourselves that the world is much smaller and more connected than we thought on september 10, 2001.