Today dawned as bright and clear as that other Tuesday, 11 years ago. It’s eerie how familiar this is.
I wonder if they did (or will do) anything to mark the day at school. What do you tell children about today? How do you explain it?
I have trouble with watching footage from this day. I think I scarred myself, since I was glued to the television for a full four days after the buildings went down. I couldn’t stop watching, even though I wanted to. Nobody knew what was happening. It was 30 miles away from us, but at the same time – on the doorstep. We could see the smoke plume from our apartment.
It was a strange time. Classes were cancelled. People went about their daily routines as best they could with tired circles under their far-away eyes. You’d meet a stranger’s gaze momentarily and see your own “WTF” mirrored in them. Towns with commuter parking lots had cars in them that didn’t move. For a long time. Weeks.
We called our parents. We called our out-of-town friends. “We’re okay, obviously. But things are very strange here.” I called my sister, for what was probably the first time ever. I might call her today. I don’t know. This is a strange day.
The Reading of the Names is what always gets me. Always. Now that the memorial is open, the footage of the Reading is interspersed with shots of relatives and friends draped over the memorial, their tears making small, salty pools in the letters, too few letters, that represent a life lost that day. It’s jarring. It’s sad. It’s beautiful.