My 9/11 Journal: Remember Our Humanity

11 Sep

He’s become a parrot lately, and with NPR being the soundtrack to our kitchen life, my son has taken to mimicking the hosts and guests dramatic enunciation or their quirky comments. But then it turned revealing: “9/11, 9/11! What’s all this about 9/11 all the time?”

Above, and below, are photos of the FDNY Memorial Wall, Engine Company 10, Ladder Company 10, 124 Liberty Street at Greenwich Street. August 2011.

{My 9/11 Journal: Remember Our Humanity}

We all know where we were on that day, but there are some new souls on this Earth who are just learning about 9/11. It’s confounding that my memory of this day would be someone else’s history lesson — in a subtle way, I knew it was coming. However, it’s the reality that “history” has arrived while my “living memory” is still quite fresh that is shocking.

As a journalist, it is fitting that I keep several journals — after all, journals are the first-person chronicles of history.

So over the years, friends and family have given the perfect gift for a writer — journals.

And each journal I’ve been given has found it’s perfect chronicled destiny — my personal journal, Volumes I, II & III; my journal to my future husband; and my journal to my future child(ren).

It was the latter journal which I had for months but had never penned the initial entry — talk about writer’s block — but seriously, how do you begin a journal to one’s children?

“Hi, kids! This is mom — but the 21-year-old cool version of your mother. So now I hope you will respect my advice a little more, since you will see that I am just like you!”

um, yea … that wasn’t going to cut it.

But on the evening of 9/11, this was the journal I poured my thoughts into. Although he is not old enough to read the full entry, it was my personal account of that day which I shared with my son for the first time as he became aware of why all the adults go glassy-eyed when talking about 9/11.

“Since you have probably read about this in history books, you will know what I am talking about. And you will know what happens tomorrow, and the days to come — yet, as I write this, I haven’t a clue what to expect.

It is rather funny and weird to ponder how this paper and ink is connecting and living in the past, present, as well as future.

It is “surreal” which is the word that everyone — journalists, eyewitnesses, survivors — are all using to describe this terrorist attack that has struck American soil, buildings and lives …”

I went on to describe my day — from the moment a woke up until watching it all unfold on a lecture hall’s big screen.

... Then they showed a live shot where the other tower remained engulfed in flames and cut to the core, and then, as if in slow motion, the building disappeared in a vast plume of billowing smoke. It looked as if the building was just neatly lowered, as if by an invisible elevator into the Earth’s core. Yet, there was the glaring harsh reality — neither of the World Trade Towers existed anymore …”

I continued by recounting my classmates’ reactions, and my own emotional thoughts, and what it was like coming home at the end of the day to a world so altered, a stark contrast to the brilliant beauty of its dawn.

… My mind struggles with this contradictory reality — here I sit with everything, life as I know it to be seemingly alright and normal — yet, my technologies, my resources and my mind is telling me that this picture of normalcy is an illusion. So what is happening? What has happened and what is going to happen?

I don’t know — But what I do know is that we are going to have a wonderful life together. It won’t matter what our surroundings might be like or what is going on in the world because the most important part of our world is the life that we will be sharing together as a family.”

The Lincoln Tunnel NY-bound, September 10, 2011.

Indeed in the entries that followed, we had several months of blanketed darkness — a collective period of mourning with strangers turning into friendly, welcoming faces experiencing the same.

But what I had forgotten was the foreboding fear we had lived under as I journaled later in October about anthrax attacks, a bus hijacking, an attempted plane hijacking and hundreds of bomb threats.

The Freedom Tower under construction, Sept. 2011.

Much can be said about today’s environment being cast in a similar hue of desperate uncertainty as the nation’s and world’s economies spiral and teeter on the brink of maintaining our known “normal” and the future “unknown”. To read my words from a decade ago brought a measure of sensibility to whatever we face as a nation or humankind:

“The trials and confusion will melt away as we stand strong as a family bound together by love”.

On this day, I don’t want us to just remember 9/11, rather I ask we remember the love of humanity that we shared in those post 9/11 days — how we kindly shared compassion for one another as if truly blood relatives. Let’s not wait for disasters or tragedies to actually feel alive and in love with life and fellow man.

With Much Love,
Robin
~PS~ Coming up this week: How to turn household items into chic potters!

The Freedom Tower (the tallest structure of the lower Manhattan skyline) can also be identified by the two cranes on top of it. While my son, a lil' grom, happily tore of the Hoboken skate park, I enjoyed the sunset over Manhattan and watched the Freedom Tower light up in patriotic red-white-blue thirds. September 10, 2011.

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One Response to “My 9/11 Journal: Remember Our Humanity”

  1. Justin September 12, 2011 at 10:14 AM #

    I think its wonderful that you took time from the Fashion and Vintage, to pay homage and tribute to this day, to share it with your son who wasnt alive yet…… and finally- to share with us. Thank you

    Like

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