The one thing that stands out to me the most about 9/11/01, might not seem that big of a deal to most people. But it means a great deal to me! It’s my 9/11 memory.
My normal routine had been to get up and start my kids’ breakfast at 5:30 a.m. We lived a good distance away from their school, and I always wanted them to have a hearty breakfast. And the t.v. wouldn’t come on until my husband would get up, which would be 10 – 15 minutes before we would head out the door.
But this particular morning, I turned on the t.v. , ‘to have some background noise and listen to the weather report.’ Instead, the first thing I saw was a airplane fly straight into one of the towers, Tower 2, I would later find out. I was stunned at what I was seeing and what I was hearing the reporters say.
The chaos and confusion I was witnessing couldn’t, fully, be conveyed through a television screen. It was the faces of those on the ground the caught my attention. The sorrowful, painful and dazed look in their eyes ripped my heart out! Just so many emotions, thoughts and prayers were going through me that I could hardly get through my morning routine with my kids.
I stayed a few moments longer, after dropping my kids off at school. I would see them later, anyway because I worked there during their lunch period, but I wanted to see if the principal would give some sort of message to the kids. He did. A very brief, compassionate speech about what was going on, and, (this next part I was so happy he said), to not bully or do “anything bad, or wrong our Muslim students.” He said, “We are all family here.”
I was in a hurry to get back home and do some work before leaving to come back, and I didn’t even notice my friends. I just made a bee line for my car before the parking lot got congested. That school’s parking lot was a MESS in the morning and worse in the afternoon, too! And I REALLY needed to get some stuff done before coming back. So, I didn’t even stop to greet my fellow mom-friends like usual. I felt badly about that later on that morning. I loved this particular group of ladies. They treated me like family! I love them still, to this day.
Fast-forward to the end of the school day. As I was standing in front of the school, under the pine tree, other parents started arriving, and making conversation about the events; putting their 2 cents in, and saying all sorts of nasty things about the Middle Eastern culture, Muslims in particular. IT MADE ME SICK TO HEAR WHAT THESE PEOPLE WERE SAYING! I put my head phones on and started to listen to my portable c.d. player; ANYTHING to drowned out these stupid sentence!
And I will never forget seeing one of my mom-friends stand a good distance away from the other parents, head down, shoulders slumped. She later told me that she was able to hear everything that the other parents had been saying. A few of them were her neighbors and they were horrible to her and her family because of the events on this day.
So, I walked over and stood with her because I didn’t want my friend to stand alone! I noticed she had tears in her eyes because of the awful things she had overheard the others saying. That made me furious! I couldn’t understand that sort of hatred and ignorance. It felt like I was thrown back to the 50’s and 60’s during the civil rights movement. Such backwards thinking makes me angry.
And as tragic as the events of that day were, what happened to my friend stands out the most. A controversial statement, I know, but it’s none the less true. To treat a person with such disdain and hatred, a person who had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THOSE TRAGIC EVENTS makes my heart hurt. And I don’t think I will ever understand that type of mentality.
After seeing my friend being treated so cruelly by her fellow parents and neighbors that way, all I could think about was the following verse:
“…if I have not love, I am nothing…”
My heart, my soul were so vexed by all the devastation of that morning, it made matters worse to see and hear that degree of hatred. Not in a movie, but by people I actually knew and associated with, to some degree.
I’m tearing up now just thinking about it…