They say always remember. So, we won’t forget. Not now. Not ever. Where we’re you when you heard the news? Who was near you? What was the setting? How did you hear about that news?
It was my Junior year in high school. We were scheduled to take an examine in my geometry class. There was a young woman crying frantically. She was from New York City, and I overheard her saying, “my aunt works there.” She and I had interacted before, as she was the assistant to my JV soccer time. Perplexed and confused, I still did not understand what was going on. “The buildings! The building that was bombed,” she shouted to me in frustration. Still, and still I was perplexed.
It had been explained to us that there was an attack against the World Trade Center Twin Towers; in addition to the Pentagon. For our that particular exam, we were allowed to use our books. Yet, my mind continued to wonder what was going on. It was during the next class period, which would clarify it all.
AP U.S. History with Mr. Gordon! The news was on, and we took our seats to watch. Another class had been ushered in to join us. And so, we sat and we watched. My face turned around to observe the different facial expressions of fellow classmates and schoolmates. Arms were crossed by a few. One shook her head in disbelief. Furthermore, there was one, who conveyed frustrating comments to the television screen; clearly irritated by the comments of one news anchor. Regardless of how we demonstrated our frustrations, an eery change was felt by us all! What was a nation left to do?
Leaving school on that day, and arriving home, the radios of 2 car mechanics was on. Everyone was on alert. Where were the other planes? Should we anticipate another attack? If so, where would it be? Taking a mental rewind, I recall my 11th grade Geometry teacher mentioning that she would not be attending her graduate class on that day. All we could do was wait.
Different vibes came out concerning the best reaction. Some wanted to war, and wanted it, now! Others demanded peace. Then, there were those, who simply wanted to do whatever they could in their power. At our school, cookie were sold in order to raise money for the American Red Cross. The local Kroger allowed people to make donations. Of course, the disdain towards one girl I worked with was evident. As usual, that’s for another time.
The nation came together for a certain period of time. Through it all, we were granted the beauty of being united; at least for that moment.
Observing different speeches of today’s memorial services, it’s evident that it’s not so easy to simply, move on! Certain wounds are fresh. Others have questions? Why? Why did they have to go? Why did I survive, and they didn’t? And in the midst of such pain, there is the power of memory!
The greatest death of losing a loved one is not in their physical invisibility. The greatest pain is permitting their memory to die. Permitting their very name to fade away in the distant wind is the most tragic. However, there is a victory in the midst of this story. And it is something not even death can erase. Are you ready?
It’s called, legacy! Speaking the names of each person, who lost their lives on that fateful day means they are always with us. It means that their presence is, here. For they are carried through in memory. With each and every generation, there is a timing of one’s memory, and the names, they hold.
Speak their names, while in the midst of pain. Speak their names, while walking in the rain. Speak their names, when emotional turmoil continues to thrive! Speak their names, that their name STAYS, alive!