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Crumbling

Every once and while I ask my parents where they were when JFK died, or I ask my grandmother where she was when Pearl Harbor was bombed. These are the stories that define them in some way, outline a generation.
I was 11 or 12 when the towers were hit. I had no idea they even existed until that day. The t.v. was on all day, my mom was on the phone calling everyone she knew. My world has never been the same since then. I still remember how numb I felt. How I couldn't process what was happening. I remember watching the second tower burning and imagining the worst thing happening: the towers crumbling. And then they did.
I remember yelling at my sister that night for wanting to watch something else when there literally wasn't anything else, she was too young to understand. I was just old enough.

One of our family friend's sons is in the Marines. He is in Afghanistan right now because of 9/11. He's 19.
I can't help thinking the next time I see him when he gets back he might not be the same person I know now. He's the bravest man I know.

I went to NYC with my family on vacation a couple years ago, and visited Ground Zero. It's a giant hole. Everyone is quiet there. Hushed. There are scribbled messages on the surrounding buildings, and a bronze embossed mural to the firefighters who gave their lives that day. My mom cried when she saw it.

It's crazy that they've now found a ship at Ground Zero, centuries old underneath whatever was left. People forget how old NYC is. I forgot how old it was.

I can't turn on the news today. Just can't. They'll show the footage again, footage I have avoided seeing for years. I don't need to be reminded. I remember all too well.

   Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
---Yeats, from "The Second Coming"
 

Later,
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.
--Anne Sexton, from "Courage"

 

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
swhisted
Sep. 11th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
You were so young that day. I was young too at 18, but 11/12 is really little. The fear children must have felt has always lingered in my thoughts.

And I agree it's hard to see the footage. I had searched to post some with my post and then opted not to in the end. A picture was enough. And as hard as it is to watch the TV on this anniversary, I'm grateful that almost every news station is honoring those fallen in a respectable way.

We must never forget. Never.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 12th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
Gracious Anne
You write quite well and thanks for this Rememberance of 9/11.

I enjoy the picture that you have with your postings. That plus your pen name makes me think of a Lady from the 1890's.

Write - always write - it is freeing to the soul.


Lilly57
edgyauthor
Sep. 13th, 2010 12:45 am (UTC)
Wow, this is so incredibly touching. Thanks for sharing.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )