A week later and still coughing...
It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since "that" day. I can remember it clearly in my mind, especially recalling all those images from the news as we were glued to the television for days and weeks. But, in light of that situation and the tragedy that it was, I have some good memories of that day.
We woke up that morning very early so we could all do our traditional birthday party in bed for Marly, who was turning 7 that day. We sang the Happy Birthday song, we opened presents, then everyone got dressed and came down for ice cream and donuts. After morning scriptures and family prayer, I sent everyone off to school. It started off as a wonderful day.
Shortly after, someone called me and told me to turn on the television to the news. I could hardly believe what I saw. I made a quick call to Ben who had just arrived at his office. They turned on the big screen at work and just watched. I too, just sat, and cried and worried and prayed. Then the second plane hit, then the pentagon was hit, then the airplane went down in spite of brave heroes who tried to intercept their "would-be" assassin over a field in Pennsylvania.
My girlfriends and I quickly gathered and put together sandwiches, crackers, fruit drinks, water bottles and other things for people to snack on. We drove them into town and donated them to the local Red Cross where dozens and dozens of people stood in line for hours to donate blood. It seemed that keeping our hands busy made us feel better and being so far away from New York, we felt helpless.
For a long time after 9/11, flags flew everywhere and pride in our country exhumed from every home, office, store, and school; there was a surge of patriotism. People volunteered their time to the cleanup effort, they donated money, they offered services to those in need. There were songs written and peoms read in support of our heroes, those who died, and those who were missing. At a time of great sadness, there was also a great hope for the future of our country. It was an emotional time to be an American. I loved it, in spite of the great sadness in my heart.
I took treats to my daughter's class at the end of that day. The news had spread quietly through the school, but my kids didn't seem to understand the full effect of what had happened. We had some quality visits over the next few hours regarding what had happened and there were many prayers offered, the simple ones, the ones that said "bless the kids whose moms and dads are lost" or "help our president" or "help our country." We tried to keep the day all about Marly and did special things for her so that the memory of that day would be pleasant for her and not sad. When I tucked her into bed that night, she thanked me and told me it was the best day ever.
Best day ever? Well, in her mind at least I'm glad for that.
I sometimes wish we could bottle up that sense of pride and hope and community spirit and spread it around every so often just so I could feel it like I did that day and for so many days and weeks following. It is events like that that remind me I need to do better, to try harder and to be more. Sometimes it is overwhelming, but always it is do-able. Love and serve; I needed to be reminded of that.