So many years have passed since 9/11 impacted our country. Yet, I still remember the day as if it were etched in a mirror. We were living in Fairfax, VA and the Physicist was on his way to work, the College Kid was at school, and I was expecting a love seat to get delivered.
He called. Said turn on the TV. Twin Towers hit.
I listened. I turned on the TV. I watched the second plane hit during a live news report.
I heard the reports about the other planes, called the Physicist, told him to come home. He was on the phone with me when he heard the plane hit the Pentagon, saw the black smoke rising into the blue, oh so blue skies, and I cannot begin to tell you about my terror.
Shortly afterward, my love seat was delivered. The deliverymen, two big strong burly dudes, stood in shock in my living room as we watched the ongoing reports. I may have given them water, coffee, a hug. I don't know. I just remember standing there and feeling numb.
The College Kid was in the second grade. Some parents got their children and brought them home. But I let her stay in school where I knew her teachers and the administration would do everything in their power to protect her. Then I called my church, asked them to pray, and brought out the ironing board.
I ironed and I prayed. I ironed, ironed, ironed. I think I may have ironed my underwear. I know I ironed the linens. Each rhythmic swoosh across the fabric calmed my racing mind as I waited for the Physicist to return home. He did. Then we walked to the school bus stop together to pick up our child.
But so many people didn't come home. So many people didn't get to pick up their children from the school bus stop. And so many people lost someone they loved that day. My throat closes around that memory, the heat of tears prickle behind eyes, the sorrow squeezes my lungs as I write this now.
So now I take a breath, pause, and remember 9/11 by honoring those who were lost, those who responded to that horrific tragedy and were forever changed, and those who continue to serve my country by risking their lives every day for the sweet gift of freedom.