Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You September 11, 2001?

Since I am home nursing a sprained ankled, I have been watching all the special shows about 9/11. Some of them I have not seen before. All have been very inspirational--but sad.
I remember I was getting ready for work that morning. I never watched the "Today" show, but Matt Lauer was interviewing someone and I thought he was being very curt or rude to his guest (I don't recall who it was). It was about 8:50 a.m. and I had my toothbrush in my mouth as I was watching.
All of a sudden he said he just got word that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I thought it was a little plane, like a Piper Cub type, some sort of joy riding pilot who was maybe drunk or had a heart mind raced on making excuses as to why that might happen.
I watched for a few minutes, then turned the TV off and got myself out the door. As I was driving to the newspaper, I heard that another pilot drove into the other Twin Tower. I thought, "What is this? Some drunken pilot convention?"
When I hit the office, my colleagues were looking for an place of business nearby with a TV set. The chiropractor, two doors down, had one. Some of the other reporters raced over to see what was going on. I stayed at my desk and listened to my headphones. I was tuned into one of the local talk shows that was preempted by what was now being called an attack. There were many theories being tossed around. I kept wondering, what happened on September 11th in the past? Was this an anniversary of some kind?
I decided I didn't want to see any of the footage, being the empath that I am. I figured I wouldn't be able to do my job if I was picturing the whole escapade in my mind. The radio was doing a fabulous job already of filling my mind with images I didn't want to see.
By the time I got home for the day I told the kids nobody was to turn on the TV. So we didn't see any of the images.
That didn't stop Timmy from imagining the worse.
The next day he refused to go to school and threw the biggest temper tantrum I'd ever seen. He finally said, through angry grunts and grimaces, body throwing and pounding arms and legs on the floor, that he was afraid to go to school; that it might be bombed.
I tried to console him by telling him that Perkasie was a very safe place and would be the last place a bomb would come, and Guth Elementary School was not a target either. We were very safe.
Nevertheless, he refused to budge and would not go to school.
So, I let him stay home--a mental health day. He certainly needed it. I spent most of the day checking up on him. He was very quiet and contemplative.
He kept refusing to go to school and it got so bad the school recommended I take him to Penn Foundation, so I called them and made an appointment with a social worker who was very good for him. She had him draw a picture of his fear. He drew a high tower (only one) that was on fire and there was a fire engine at the bottom trying to put out the fire.
The social worker told me he was very concerned about the little children who lost their parents. She said she had never seen that much compassion in a 10-year-old before, that he was worried about other people, other children.
So she advised me that we should immerse ourselves into some 9/11 service. Many had popped up in a short period of time. As it happens, when we got back to school that day, a service project was taking place. If you donated $1, you could write your name on, something, a flag maybe, and it would go on the wall until the whole cafeteria was covered. The money would be sent to some 9/11 service foundation for children in NYC.
I believe that helped tremendously. The social worker had him draw pictures to send to children in Manhattan, where she was going to be of some help to children working through the trauma. He liked that idea, too.
It's funny that he never saw an image in our home. We didn't watch any of the many films, news coverage, documentaries--I was afraid it would be too graphic for the children. I guess imagination plays a big part in how you deal with tragedy.
Believe it or not, there was a family in Souderton who lost a son. He was a chef at the Top of the World cafe, or whatever it was called, on the top floor of one of the towers. I was given the daunting task of interviewing the man's parents. I was flustered. I didn't know what to do or how to act. I could only let them speak. Everyone was hurting. Later, it seemed, everyone knew someone who knew someone, like six degrees of separation.
And I knew several who had birthdays on September 11th. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have that as a birthday, until on March 11th, my birthday, the tragedy was dredged up again on the six month anniversary. I felt horrible inside. And my horror would only be half as horrid as someone born on September 11th who would have to live through this every year. I was sure they wouldn't single out March 11th again--and they never did.
And so, here we are, 10 years later. What have we learned? What has been accomplished?
I have learned that terrorism is of the adversary. Those who would blame God for what happened are past the mark. I remember reading about all the people who missed being at the towers because their alarms didn't go off, they missed the train or subway, they had a dentist appointment, and so on. That was Providence. He saved many lives. And all the heroes, living angels who sacrificed their own lives so others could make it out alive, were Providential, too. No greater is one who gives his/her life for a fellow being. There were many of them and they are in the spirit world now and we don't even know what they did. Their glory is complete.
I pray--really hard--we don't ever have to go through that again. I pray that Providence will again work overtime to quell those who wish harm on their fellow humans, their brothers and sisters--all of us children of a divine Father.
Please, Father, comfort those who lost loved ones during that tragic attack. Protect those who are fighting to combat the adversary in other lands right now, that love, kindness and Your Way will win out.
Please, Father, let us all live as we did on 9/12, in a scenario of loving brotherhood and God Bless America.

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1 Nephi 1: 1, 3

...therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.
And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.