Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sept. 11

Every year, without fail, I write a September 11 post. It takes many varied forms, everything from a simple, “Yes, I remember”, to an elaborate story. This year will be a storytelling, a remembrance of that sad day.Sometimes I think people push the memory of Sept. 11 to the back of their minds, along with other things too painful to deal with. The more immediate concerns of the grocery list and the dry cleaning are infinitely easier to handle; we skim through this day thinking of the most trivial things possible, waiting for midnight, for release, for another day when we can pretend nothing happened.I refuse to push it to the back of my mind. I have far too many family members and friends stuck in the Godforsaken hellhole that is the Middle East to be so disrespectful as to push this away. So here goes.I woke up that morning to my blaring radio-the one thing I couldn’t sleep through. I vaguely remember hearing the words ‘plane’ and ‘tower’. I got out of bed and hit the shower, turning on the radio again when I got out. I found out the news through the voice of a slightly panic-stricken deejay, then ran out into the living room to turn on CNN. I watched a live feed from a camera aimed at the towers. I saw the second plane hit. Because this was live, there was no pretty censoring like we have now in the years following. There was no sugarcoating.The memory that sticks with me the most is the memory of watching those battered and bloodied men and women run. The sheer panic, the need to run, somewhere, anywhere, was written all over their faces.That same need to run was the prevailing on my high school campus. I was a sophomore, and my boyfriend at the time had a family member in the NYPD. He was in tears; we sat there on the filthy classroom floor, his head on my chest as he cried, and my eyes fixed on the television screen. Students wandered all over campus, congregating in rooms of favorite teachers, or classrooms with televisions. Some walked down the street to the houses of other students, jam-packing the living rooms of people they’d never met, all to get to a television. Campus security and the administrators didn’t care, they let us do as we wished. Because, I mean, really, we have an ‘in case of fire, break glass’ box, but we do not have an ‘in case of national tragedy’ box.Every year, I remember. They say constant contact with a memory desensitizes you. I disagree. For the first time in six years of memorial posting, the monitor and keyboard are blurred in front of me. I have a balled up tissue next to me, smeared with mascara and wet with tears.For the first time in these six years, I wept when I remembered.