Wednesday, September 11, 2013


This morning as I came through the house in the early daylight I saw a flag at the curb and momentarily wondered—it’s a Wednesday, not a Monday, not a holiday that I could think of. And the flag looked a bit incongruous between two garbage carts. But then I remembered—it’s 9/11. Perhaps the second—or third—day of infamy in our national history, on somewhat of a par with Pearl Harbor and JFK’s assassination. At least those are the moments that stand out in my living memory—and I’m not sure I remember Pearl Harbor, just hearing where I was when the new came.

Like most Americans I remember where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001—sitting at the same desk I am now. I’d stayed home from work because a workman (worker man one of my granddaughters used to say) was coming to refinish the bathroom sink (bad idea—just buy a new sink). I was working but had the TODAY show on and remember clearly the first announcement that a plane had flown into of the World Trade Towers. At first, everyone assumed it was a small private plane, seriously off course. The awful truth of course soon was evident. I kept running into the bathroom to update the worker man, who was strangely unmoved by it (he was a taciturn and not very pleasant individual who left a mess behind him). At the end of the morning, I tore myself from the TV, dressed and went to work. My colleague called in to say he couldn’t leave his TV.

The next few days were a blur of unimaginable tragedy and horror, sadness so great I hate to think about it but like our nation I can’t let myself forget—and the flag in front of my house is a poignant reminder.

Today I sat in the same spot, with the TODAY show on until I got serious about working. I wrote almost two thousand words on my work-in-progress—a commendable accomplishment for an author. But somehow it struck me as insignificant to work on a cozy mystery when all around me—especially on Facebook—were strong reminders of what this day means to us as a nation and, tragically, to so many people as individuals who lost loved ones or their health or whose lives were forever changed.

Does it put the Syrian crisis into perspective? I don’t know. I’ve been struggling to find some link, some parallel for the two but so far couldn’t do it. I may have an “Aha” moment later, but for now I’m just relieved that diplomacy has a chance. It’s like the song, “Give peace a chance.”

This afternoon when Jacob came home from school I intended to ask if they talked about 9/11 at school, but on the way up the drive he grabbed the flag pole and said, “Don’t ask me, Juju. I know what this is for. My dad told me on the way to school this morning.” They didn’t talk about it at school, which seemed sad to me.

Today ended as well as any such day can. Elizabeth, Betty and I took Jacob to The Star (the restaurant Betty and her husband own) and had a good dinner. Jacob loves the grilled cheese there. On the way home, we drove through downtown and Jacob marveled at the twinkly lights in the trees. Then, straight ahead, we saw a tall building with the top decorated in red, white and blue…and we were reminded once again of the significance of the day. And I thought about the insignificance of much of what we daily do, in the face of what happened twelve years ago.

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