It was a life time ago. Before I was a mum, before I was a wife, before I had even met my husband. I’d been living in Atlanta almost a year. I was sitting in my office at work when the phone call came through. “Turn on the tv.” What my boss and I saw was like a scene from some action movie, or perhaps from a war-torn country far, far away from the safety of our back yard. It couldn’t possibly be real and it couldn’t possibly be happening in New York City.
People will say they can’t believe it has been 10 years, but to me it feels like it was another lifetime, in another world, far away from the life I have now. In many ways I can’t believe it has ONLY been 10 years. But I’m one of the lucky ones. I didn’t have a loved one in one of those buildings, on one of those planes, amongst the thousands of soldiers who have been sent to war since. I don’t live every day with the haunting memories that I imagine anyone who was in NYC that morning would have.
It’s being a part of an historical event like this, the memories, the “where were you” stories, that makes you realize how much we have, how lucky we truly are, how much we have to be grateful for. Our daily problems may weigh us down, but when we look at the big picture we really have to take stock of our situations.
I can’t help but think about people who were in the buildings who wouldn’t normally be there. The people who may have missed flights and were able to get a seat on one of the fateful flights, or the people who should have been on one of them and missed it. It’s strong evidence that we really have no control over how long we have in this life. I also can’t help but think about the brave men and women who, as people fled ground zero, they approached it, looking for lives to save, for ways they could help. I’m so proud to have lived in the US for 11 years, and to call it my second home. If my friend’s Facebook status is true, and policemen, firefighters, are not invited to ceremonies, it is an absolute disgrace. But I don’t want to make this post about self-important, money-grabbing politicians.
I remember not feeling anything the first few days. Then I went to lunch with a friend, where I broke down sobbing. He thought I was taking it all a little too well and was surprised it had taken that long to really sink in. But we all react differently to these things. People, even 900 miles away in Atlanta, greeted each other kinder, forgave a little quicker, weren’t so agitated and crazy. People really were united, in a way I had never seen before. At least, for a few months they were. Then the war divided them again.
September 11 is a date no one will ever forget. There’s plenty of reason to be sombre, reminiscent and thankful. Unfortunately for my sister, it’s also her birthday. So tonight instead of watching footage of NYC for the 80 millionth time, we will go out and celebrate. We’ll celebrate the fact we are alive, and we are free, and we’ll have a drink for those who make that so.