Where Were You When… Tragedy Struck on 9/11
Where were you when tragedy struck on 9/11?
I don’t even need to say the year – we all remember that time well. I was at work and received a call from my mom in Colorado asking if we were okay… I had no clue what she was talking about. I was the first in my entire workplace to get the word. I immediately ran into the conference room and turned on the TV. I then alerted my boss who made everyone aware. At the time I was working in a public school district and we were going to start receiving calls from panicked parents any moment. That was after the plane hit the first tower.
Then we were watching the aftermath of the first tower and the 2nd one was hit. As soon as that happened I said – oh my God – get those rescue workers out of there. We all know what happened shortly after that – the towers fell. No survivors were found – if they hadn’t been able to escape prior to the collapse they were never found.
It got worse – then the Pentagon, then a failed attempt.
We all mourned the loss of loved ones, friends, casual contacts and people we did not know nor would we ever meet. The nation mourned for a very long time and many still do. We still make laws based on the events of 9/11. Our children may never understand the horror but they will live with some of the effects. Thousands died but thousands didn’t. For whatever reason they were late for work that day; they were sick; or they just didn’t feel right about going in that day. It is a phenomena that no one can adequately explain. These types of behaviors are well documented – that sixth sense that may have saved their lives.
But, I digress… Recently some tragic situations have been brought to my attention. I often think about the people who have lost someone and how terribly awful that must have been for such a long time. How they must think about their lost loved ones every year around 9/11, on their birthdays, on Father’s Day/Mother’s Day, and every holiday in between. I often think about emergency personnel that have survived and some have since committed suicide. I often think about the people in the city who have become ill, even gravely ill from all the debris that hung over the city for a very long time.
Some things I never thought about –
The person who was just a teenager when 9/11 happened. Who could not believe that his mother was gone. Who never received any concrete evidence that she was gone. He just couldn’t bring himself to go home that day – or any day since. Who has been living on the streets of New York for years since then still mourning his missing mother. Who cannot accept that she is gone and is still searching for her. Who’s life will never get any better because no one can convince him that she is gone and he needs to be strong enough to move on with his life – she would have most certainly wanted that for him.
What about the person who survived 9/11 while all of his coworkers did not. Who could not come to grips with the losses or the question of why did he survive and they didn’t. He loses his job – as many did – because of course there are no jobs left there. Thousands were left without work. With the mounting stress and depression he turns to alcohol. His wife tries to understand but he does not want to share his grief; he does not want the help; he does not think he is worth the effort; so his wife has no recourse but to leave him and move on with her life. He has lost everything – more than most of us can even imagine and now he is also on the street. What hope is there for him? Ever?
There are so many more stories like this. People who still cannot move on with their lives. Who have been so severely impacted that their view of the world has become distorted and they are “stuck” – stuck in a world that is still the week of the tragedy. Life for them has not moved on. They are stuck in the immediate hell that so many endured after 9/11. It will take an entire generation to get through some of that grief; that pain; and that loss.