Monday, September 11, 2006

I remember waking up that morning, turning on the TV, and seeing the same thing on every channel. There was black smoke against a perfect blue sky, bits of white floating down to the street. The scream of sirens in the background, cutting through the quiet at 9:30 on a beautiful Tuesday morning.

I remember Tom Brokaw saying that two planes had hit the World Trade Center. That there were more planes, one in Washington, one in Pennsylvania. My boyfriend called me from work to ask if I was watching. What's going on? I said, but I knew. This could not have been an accident.

I watched as the smoke grew thicker, heavier. I saw the faces of people trapped in the towers, framed in the windows, desperate for help. I saw the ones who wouldn't wait, the ones who must have known that help wasn't coming. I wanted to reach out my hands and catch them, to bring them back to the safety of solid ground.

I remember the sound as the south tower began to collapse, a cloud of steel and concrete and glass. It was as if someone had taken hold of the building and was tearing it in two. That was when I started to cry, when I knew that I was witnessing death and there was no way to stop it. I remember screaming why why why at the television and wondering where God was at that moment.

On the street people huddled together, watching, horrified and helpless. I remember the woman who screamed "They're jumping!", the young man who shouted into the camera that we were getting what we deserved. The way they held each other, sobbing on the shoulders of strangers, united in confusion, fear, grief. I remember their faces as they ran from the cloud of debris, the way it settled over the city, blocking out the light. How afterwards, they wandered the streets like ghosts, covered in smoke and dust and ash. And then the firemen raising the flag, a show of faith and strength in the midst of chaos.

This is what I remember. This is what I can't, won't forget. Think of them today, the ones who were lost. Say a prayer for those who were left behind. Remember.