Friday, September 11 was a solemn day for many people across this planet traversing the cosmos. Many took time to remember family and friends who perished that tragic day in New York City, Washington, DC and a lonely field in Pennsylvania.
It is true what they say: One tends to remember where you were and what you were doing when the news begins to filter about the unfolding events of a historic day.
I was sitting in my university office watching a robin on a branch outside my window. A colleague came in and said that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was the day when the high school senior class of my eldest daughter was having its dedication as the countdown to graduation in May 2002 had begun. When we walked into the assembly hall there were the towers on fire on the projection screen.
Dan Rather of the CBS News was talking. There were parents and students standing and siting watching the screen. There were others who were crying and praying.
Then the unbelievable happened. The first tower fell and eventually the second one as we stood there with our daughter.
The emotional impact could be heard in Dan Rather’s voice and the crying in the assembly hall. For these teenagers their world of innocence had been shattered into pieces which could not be glued back together.
As the day unfolded fear and panic replaced rationality and commonsense. The supermarkets were emptied of their food and goods; long lines of vehicles impatiently waited to fill up their tanks because the news was that gas was to be rationed; unfortunately, some merchants took advantage of the fear and raised prices to make an extra buck or two.
As one looks back on that day in 2001 there are many memories and tears. For the current generation of 15 year olds and younger, 911 is a historical event of which they have no experiential knowledge.
They see the images. They hear the conversations. They see the President and First Lady standing with their hands on their hearts in a moment of silence. The flags are at half-mast.
For them they have seen the flags at half-mast since they can remember. It seems that weekly the flag is lowered to honor a fallen warrior or when another tragic event has occurred in this country.
Unfortunately, tragic events are part of their childhood. When they leave their teenage years for the twenties, these tragic events are their 911.
Marcus Aurelius once said
“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place and this too will be swept away.”
Our lives are a river of passing events. Our experiences and our memories of those experiences have shaped who we are today as well as our daily choices.
911 is a memorial which people who experienced it remember. This was not just an American tragedy.
It was a global one as well. Their families and friends still grieve for them in Canada, China, Australia, Britain, Israel, Germany, Mexico, and Japan and in towns and villages scattered across our land.
Life continues and memories linger. As humans we have a resilience which defies our fragility.
Perhaps, resilience was embedded in our human genome. The struggle to live from conception to death defines our species.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius
G. D. Williams © 2015
CNN List of 911 Names
A beautiful sight lit up the New York City skyline on the eve of the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Thursday morning, New Yorkers were greeted to a shimmering double rainbow that stretched far across the city.
An amazing double rainbow has appeared at the place where the World Trade Center used to stand, one day before the anniversary of 9/11, the tragedy that took thousands of lives 14 years ago.
The rainbow appeared over the city at about 8 am between rain showers.
Many photos were posted to social media from throughout the city, but the most remarkable were those showing the WTC.
Ben Sturner was positioned just right to capture the rainbow starting at the World Trade Center:
Ben Sturner, CEO of sports marketing company Leverage Agency, said he stepped outside onto the terrace of his apartment in Long Island City, Queens, Thursday morning, part of his daily routine to check the weather.
It was just after 7 a.m., and from across the East River, “I see this rainbow, and it’s coming from the World Trade Center and it’s the most gorgeous rainbow I’ve ever seen,” he told NBC 4 New York over the phone. “I took out my phone and started snapping photos.”