Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'll give it a go - 9/11

I have always been silent on 9/11 re: the Blog with the exception of one small mention in a post on 9/11/2006. I have never felt the ability to do this day justice but thought I might try today.

Growing up, I remember my mom talking about where she was and what she was doing the day JFK was assassinated. Something she would never forget. I remember exactly where I was when we saw the Challenger explode.   These events can be seared in our memories - and we will never forget.

Where were you? I was in bed - sick and woozy from some Nyquil I downed about 5am (the yucky old liquid that knocks you out). I had a 3 yr old in bed watching cartoons while I dozed, a 1 yr old about to wake up and a husband in the shower when the phone rang around 6:30am. It was my mom calling from the FAA Command Center "where's Bart flying today?" I told her he wasn't, he was flying the next day - the 12th. She said "OK, turn on the TV." She hung up. I think the call lasted 10 - 15 seconds: the shortest call in our history. I don't know when I talked to my mom again but it wasn't that day - it may have been 1 or 3 days later.

She was, like many people, directly affected and working during those following days to try and restore some order to events as they transpired. She was a short distance away and heard the Commander of the FAA give the command to ground all flights. But that's really her story.

We lived in San Ramon in 2001 and here we are - living just down the road again. And every time I cross the old Fostoria bypass over 680, I think of 9/11. I haven't driven that way today yet but know when I do it will be covered with flags, posters and people in honor of Thomas E. Burnett. He was one of the civilians instrumental in making sure Flight 93 went down without causing further destruction outside of the lives of those on that plane. The bypass/over crossing was renamed in his honor as he was a resident of San Ramon and was survived by his wife and daughters. I had neighbors who knew the Burnetts. The Burnett girls are around our girls ages. So I think of them and wonder how they are doing and say a little prayer. Again, not really my story.

So like my mom, I will not forget where I was or what I was doing that day. My girls don't remember that day of course. But over the years as they get older, we try to talk about it and explain the events that have happened since in a way that imparts their importance to our history and our feelings about world events. They will make their own memories of defining moments while we add to ours.

I'll share a few pictures with you of a trip we took that I never got around to blogging about.  Berlin 2010.  We were walking down the street and came upon the US Embassy in Berlin.  A really cool building with really cool security that must have come at a really cool price.

We looked at the flag and saw it at half-mast and wondered "who died?"  Then Bart and I realized the date - one of the aspects of living overseas was not always being aware of current US holidays or events.  As we were "on vacation" we also didn't have our computer with us to let us know the Yahoo! news of the day.  It was 9/11.
Down the street from the US Embassy is the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.  It takes up a city block.  It is a memorial both peaceful and jarring depending on where you are - very impactful.
It would have been interesting to be a visitor to Berlin prior to the Wall coming down and then to see it's memory.  The City has built over it and re-run streets over where it once stood and you see the outline of where it stood formerly by way of these lighter colored bricks or varied bricks running through a re-paved street.  It's hard to imagine the division within the City dividing the East and West sides.  They have gone to great efforts to blend the City back together and with some absolutely beautiful modern architecture.
Checkpoint Charlie (aka Checkpoint C):
Should you find yourself in Berlin, take time to read the stories along the walls by the Checkpoint.  They will break your heart.  Stories not of WWII but stories of those who were trying to leave East Germany in years prior to 1989- years I was busy writing a History papers or going to Cheer leading practice or worrying about whether grades would keep up my college scholarship - I wasn't worried about my life.  It is sobering. 

I will make one political statement here - For those in our current political races, to use the names of WWII war criminals as associations with other political candidates: Shame on you!  The Berlin History Museum does a fine job of documenting their German history (English is second language there so easy to follow most exhibits) and perhaps that would be a good review for those who would like to engage in name calling.  Sorry - jumping off my soapbox now.

Those are my thoughts today.  May God bless and comfort all those living with the loss of those who gave their lives that day and those who sacrificed themselves in the aftermath.

Funny thing - I realized Bart will be flying again - tomorrow the 12th.

1 comment:

Linds said...

I am old enough to remember President Kennedy's assassination. Then there was the Challenger. Princess Diana's death, and then 9/11. And 7/7/06 here with the tube bombings. So many awful days which changed so much of our world then and still today.

I remember my sister calling me that September afternoon here screaming turn on the TV - I think the world is about to end. And turn it on I did - with my mother and visiting aunt and uncle and it stayed on, and we watched stupified. Such darkness. Such pain.Such loss. Such sadness.

And thanks so much for your comments, Susan - I understand the feeling behind the words so well. I had just had more than enough of the hatred and vitriol and lies - yes, on both sides, and so much purporting to be Christian. No No and NO. Sigh. Switzerland has definite appeal. For me too! Lots of love.