With 9/11 coming on Friday, I have been thinking inevitably back on that day and on subsequent ones in the past few years. I wanted to put my thoughts together and see how things have changed, how I have changed since then. I’m sure there will be a lot of commentary this week on the same subject but this is for me.
On September 10th, I thought I was pregnant with our third child but the home tests came back negative. Not trusting them, I did another the morning of Sept 11th. Still negative. Watching the morning news as the day progressed, I was scared for my two small children. What kind of world would they grow up in? Would they grow up? When the towers fell, they couldn’t understand why I was crying and I was unable to explain it to them. I usually sang “Edelweiss” to them at bedtime but this night I couldn’t get through it. “Bless my homeland forever” took on new meaning for me. I have not been able to sing it since without choking up. The next day, Sept 12th, I took yet another test. Positive. I was devastated. How could we bring another child into this upside down world? The 13th was my birthday. Happy 31st. The days following drew our country together in self-righteous rage. And we looked to the silent skies.
Fast forward to September 11, 2004. We are at war in Iraq. Planes were once again flying. I was pregnant with number 4. My then two year old had just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. My husband had left two weeks before for Iraq as a contractor driving convoy for one year. During this time in my life, I had to reach into the deepest part of me to find the strength to plug on. If not for my faith in God and close relationships with friends and family, I would not have made it. On that third anniversary of 9/11, I was proud of my husband and my country for doing what I believed was a just cause in a just war. But I was afraid I would never see him again. Afraid I wasn’t up to the job that no one asked me to do. It just had to be done. Somehow, we made it. Better, stronger as family than ever before.
And now September 11, 2009. Americans will remember the horror of that day with sadness and a deep sense of lost naivete. As for me and my family, we will be watching from outside the country. After almost five years in Iraq, my husband was able to get a job with another contractor in Kuwait. After all that time apart, we decided to sell everything and join him. It was the best move we have ever made. Our family is strong. The work he does is essential to the safety of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and I am extremely proud of him. But watching and reading the things going on back home is very painful as there is nothing I can do to help. I put my two cents in here and elsewhere, locally when I can. But it doesn’t take the place of being there physically. This week, as people gather to rally in D.C. from all over the country and in their hometowns, I am encouraged. For those who are going to these rallies, know that I and others like me are with you in spirit. We are no longer the deaf, blind people of 9/10 or the scared people of 9/11. We are wide awake and aware of the dangers inside our own country and government. This year, looking at our country from the outside, I am incredibly proud of its’ citizens. We are once again bound together in our anger towards tyranny. No one asked us to do it. It just has to be done and we have found the strength to do it. We will make it. And we will be stronger and better as a nation because of it.
I still look up when I hear an airplane and remember the time when the skies were silent.
And I still can’t get through Edelweiss.
“Bless our homeland forever”