Any one else feeling super sensitive today? Some years 9/11 seems like a long ago, far away thing. Other years it hits me like a truck. This seems to be one of the truck years. Every post I see, every essay I read, leaves in a puddle of tears.
Seventeen years ago, I was holding newborn Baby Olive (who turned 17 a couple of weeks ago) in our backyard in New York, while tiny Ralph and Maude played around us. We had just moved to New York on August 1st, not even 6 weeks earlier, so that Ben Blair could attend Colombia University in the City.
Our house backed up to the commuter train line, Metro North, and hearing trains run by had already become a normal interruption in our day. Conversations with friends would pause for a few moments until the train passed.
So one of my main memories of 9/11 was silence. The City was on lockdown, and the trains couldn’t run. Ben was on campus when the Towers came down and like everyone else in the city, he couldn’t get home to us until the end of the day.
Weirdly, I think some of the extra-sensitivity I’m feeling today is related to the hurricane coverage. There are a lot of people I love in North Carolina, and I have friends who are still recovering from Harvey, and I’m feeling a little anxious watching the news. You too? I’m sending thoughts of love and safety to my East Coast friends who are in the hurricane’s path.
Here are some of the best things I’ve read today:
We Must Rise Above Hate on the Anniversary of 9/11. An op-ed in Time Magazine by Qasim Rashid.
This Was 9/11 If You Were A Kid. Two years ago, dozens of young adults who remembered 9/11 through the eyes of a child, and grew up in a world transformed by its aftermath, shared their stories. (WP)
The Falling Man — an amazing piece of writing in Esquire by Tom Junod. I’ve read it before and should probably read it every year.
The image at top is voicemail from passenger Brian Sweeney of Flight 175. It’s displayed in the 9/11 memorial Museum. I have to grasp my heart while I read it.
How are you doing today? Feeling sensitive? Or does 9/11 feel far away to you this year? What do you remember most about the day it happened?
P.S. — My dad’s birthday is today, but he died before 9/11 happened. Birthdays on days like today can feel so strange.