The Importance of Remembering (On My Mind #1)

Last night I started writing out my entry for this blog post today.

It was about ice cream.

Then I woke up this morning to finish the post and remembered that it was September 11th.

How soon we forget!

Not that I have to write something about September 11th, or should feel forced to write something.  But the more I thought about it I realized I want to write something because I don’t want to forget.

I’m guessing anybody in their mid-20’s or older has certain feelings associated with this day.  At the very least, you remember where you were when it happened.

I was in college.  That morning I was sitting in class waiting for the professor to arrive.  I remember we were all excited because of the “10 minute late rule” – if the professor was more than 10 minutes late, we could leave.  It was about eight minutes after the hour.  He came in, fairly disheveled, and said that he was cancelling class because “something happened in New York…some planes hit some buildings” and then he walked out of the room.  That’s a way to get student’s attention.

I quickly walked to the main student bookstore, where there was a large selection of TV’s to choose from.  I walked in, turned left and made it about ten feet into the clothes aisle before I saw the first tower smoking.  Me, along with dozens of others, just stood, watching, periodically looking at each other.  Complete strangers with feelings of empathy, concern and confusion.

I continued down to the basement where there was a massive TV screen.  There had to be 300 people huddled around.  I listened to the conversations around me of people who thought they knew people in New York, or, more specifically, in the towers.  After about 10 or 15 minutes, the first tower fell and it is a feeling that anybody that watched it happen live or has seen it sense cannot describe.  The wave of emotion was overwhelming and people started to hug each other and started to cry.

I left the crowd and went back upstairs to one of the two courtesy phones in the building.  I called my wife who was eight months pregnant with our first child.  At the time we didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl.  More than anything I wanted to tell her I loved her.  Looking back it seems silly – I was 2000 miles away nestled in the Rocky Mountains – but at the time it made sense.

As I write this, I want to call my wife and tell her I love her.  It seems silly, but right now it makes sense.

It’s 11 years later and we now have five children.  I want her to put my youngest two children on the phone so I can tell them I love them.  I want to drive to the elementary school that is two miles down the street and tell my other three children that I love them.

Our oldest child is a boy, his name is Michael, and he was born a month after September 11, 2001.

It’s important to remember.

Where were you the morning of September 11th and what were you feeling?

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