Hopefully everyone is aware of what day today is, the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, even most of those who were yet to be born by that day. What started out as a regular old Tuesday fast became one day in our nation’s history never to forget. Collectively we could likely recall lots of what was going on in every square mile of the country during those moments when the planes hit (or failed to hit in one case) their targets. It was a moment in which all of “normal” daily routines were put on hold while all of us were stunned by the horrific events in New York and near Washington, D.C. By the end of the day no one would doubt that we just lived through history in the making, just a part of history that is the sheer opposite of joyful. In the capitol it was also clear by the end of the day that we would be using these attacks as a pretense for war in the Middle East. These wars have yet to come to a complete conclusion even a decade after their supposed “cause”. The death toll these wars have inflicted far outnumbers that of the 9/11 attacks themselves.
As it would happen I was home sick that day. As such Mary was home taking care of me, and it just so happened that it was Eric’s second day working at the University of Minnesota libraries. He was in the middle of an orientation session with other newcomers when the speaker at the time left the stage. Someone else somberly walked onto the stage and announced that a terrorist attack was currently underway in New York and near Washington, D.C. to the now stunned audience in that auditorium. Eric is the one who called us at home and told us to turn on the TV. The first thing we saw, as I remember it, was the plane hitting the second tower. I don’t think Mary got off the phone with Eric until after we saw this, partly because Eric wasn’t near a TV himself. I still have a vague memory of being in our living room seeing those images, images that could have easily been from a horror movie but were instead live footage from New York at what is now known as Ground Zero.
Later that day I remember Mary was on the phone with my speech therapist at Groveland Park Elementary School for some reason. I have a vague memory of standing in front of her in our kitchen during this phone call. I also took the time that day to make four drawings depicting the attacks on the World Trade Center. These drawings spent the first two-thirds of this past decade in Eric’s office(s) at the UofM. It was only after he left the U in 2007 that they moved to where they are today (or at least until they were scanned yesterday) hanging on one of the walls of my room.
At the time my brother, Nathaniel, was attending Highland Park Montessori School. I remember how the teachers there were quite clear that we shouldn’t talk with him about the attacks. This seemed a little odd, but made some sense given if nothing else the age he was at the time. Overall the day is one of the few in our lives we will not ever forget due to its horrific nature and its connections to the continued horrors of the wars we’re embedded in still today. Hopefully we can have a nice day a decade later remembering this day and not end up living through something terrible later today.