Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11th

I don't think I've ever done a September 11th entry.  Funny, that date meant nothing before 2001. Well, not to most folks, anyway.  To us?

It's our nephew's birthday.  He was 11 years old.  Good age to have a colossal act of violence forever associated with your birthday.  Good age to burn that in.

So happy birthday, Buddy.  Love you.

My memories of 9/11 are the same as many folks'.  Woke up and dashed to the TV not even knowing why--something I'd heard on the radio while sleeping, I'm sure.  I turned on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit.

And then the wave.

You know, that wave of unreality that washed over?  That "I'm watching a Michael Bay movie" sensation?

And then I threw myself at the computer.  I had a lot of online pals who were part of the Project Greenlight gig.  A lot of pals in NYC.  Immediately, I went for the PG chat room.  Where was Serena?  Where was Doug?  Had anyone heard from Stephen?

It was a long while before we learned that one of our own had been on Flight 11.  Tom Pecorelli,

Tom was a great guy--funny, sharp, talented.  He was a lot of things, including cameraman for Fox Sports and E! Entertainment Television.  He was married to his love, and they were expecting their first child in April.  Tom had been in the Boston area for a friend's wedding and to visit his Dad.

He walked around carrying his boy-to-be's ultrasound picture.  That boy is now a handsome young man who never  had the joy of resting in his father's arms.

Three or four days after the towers fell, our boy, who was three, found a potato bug (you may know them as pill bugs or "rolly-pollies").  It seemed a harmless thing--we were doing yard work, so we admonished him to be careful with the potato bug and then went back to our task.  We lived right in the flight path of an International Airport, so the silence was something palpable,  made us edgy, uneasy.  After a few minutes of working under that pall of nothingness, our little boy approached.  He held out his hand, in which the now-dead potato bug rested, and said, "Fix it, Daddy."

Fix it.

Hubby and I crouched down, and I said, "Oh, honey, I'm sorry.  It can't be fixed."

Our boy was insistent, so earnest and sad.  "Please, Daddy--please fix it, I broke it."

Voice cracking, my husband explained that, once something is dead, it can't be fixed.  It's forever broken.  Our boy's eyes filled with tears and he said he was so, so sorry.  Poor Mr. Potato Bug.

And then the grownups lost all cohesion.  We wrapped ourselves around our boy and cried and cried.  Over a potato bug?

Of course not.  Well, maybe a little.  But mostly we cried because of all those people.  And all those other people who'd lost those people.  We cried because we realized how foolish it was to ever think that making war internationally wouldn't eventually splash back here.  We cried because the world our little boy is going to live in isn't the world of my childhood.  It's the logical consequence, I recognize that now, but the carefree assumption that terror and war only happen in other lands?

Gone.  And I grieved.  I mourned that almost as much as I mourned the amazing, varied, priceless human beings we lost on 9/11.

And before I go (and I am going--there is no room here for funny pictures or complaints about awful baby names), I want to say thank you.

To Canada.

Because in the days after 9/11, when our skies were bereft of planes and our American citizens were stranded in the air, unable to come home, Canada took them in.  Canadians opened their airports, their arms, their hearts, and their homes, provided shelter and food and care.  Because they are our friends.

So thank you, Friends.  I hope we never, ever have to return the favor.  

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