I still can not look upon photographs of humans in flight. I still must turn away from video documents. And I am still in disbelief that some people act so horrically toward others.
There is great tribute to the innocent victims of September 11, 2001 on this first anniversary of horror in the homeland, when four flights flew into the face of Fate. Among the true passengers, lying in wait, were terrorist terminators. Assassins of allah.
On this date one year ago, thousands of people awoke and began their day-as-usual; While others embarked on what they believed to be the most important mission of their lives. Most certainly their last. Most certainly, they were men who massre.
Upon waking for my own day, each TV station offers live coverage, from New York, Washington DC & Pennsylvania, with journalistic voiceovers and opinions. Each station broadcasting the names of those killed in the air and on the ground. With each push of the channel changer appeared images which refuse to vanish. The media forces me to relive the surrealistic annihilations, over & over & over. The videos are systematically replayed; The magazines put death in our faces again. Death stilled. How nice of them to remind us. Did they think anyone forgot? I can now, again, gaze upon photos of fear, and almost smell the odors of Ground Zero. It's all clear to me. Again.
I am touched by the tears of too many, and tainted by too much socialjustice. My heart bleeds for those who lost family & friends on that infamous day. I wonder, too, how it feels to know someone I love may be in piles of unidentified remains. Tons of rubble created mass graves. I mourn with the families and friends and lovers who suffered that loss. I can not fathom the depths of darkness that day wrought upon so many souls.
Throughout this year's extensive media reporting on the events of 9/11/01, there was story after story about individuals who perished. Reports that included descriptions like, parent, sibling, husband, wife, niece, nephew. Various races were represented by various video stories. To my dismay, I have yet to see the word partner or lover – never mind gay. I would find it unbelievable if the gay community suffered no loss. But, I have no way of knowing as there seems to be no honourable tribute to anyone who happened to be gay. May my words, then, be considered such a tribute to them, and comfort to their loved ones.
The day inundates me with graphic visions of history. Survivors now sharing their memories of fleeing down dark, endless, smoke – & – scream filled stairwells. A baby's eyes echo those of his dead father's. Parents aching still at having lost a child; Children writing poetry of pain. Visions into lives torn apart by senseless violence … Glimpses into the journeys of lost souls.
Sadder still are the words that followed the onslaught of abhorrence. Four small words which testify to the extreme change in our world, spoken by none other than President Bush: "We are at war". Once he vocalized this chilling fact of life, so too were the words uttered by many terrified Americans. Our freedom has most certainly been jeopardized, and our trust in manankind erased.
I must confess to a level of fear I've never known, and wish never to have been introduced to. Always cautious, now I am afraid. If nothing else, unfortunately, the madmen did succeed in planting the seeds of terror. They have, in a single day, forever changed an entire nation. Horrific to us, heroic to them. Scary.
My step of courage in this time of fear is to pay homage & respect. People of terror will not halt my travel to any particular place. I will not leave our country, though; I may never do that now. But I must journey to Ground Zero in New York City. I was not sure how I'd react, but know I must go.
Driving to New York City & looking at its skyline across the water, there were two giant towers conspicuously missing. My eyes look for where they should be, and for a second, you think you see them. But you can not see them from anywhere anymore because cutthroat killers blew them up with all those people inside & on the plane. What must have looked like across the water? Will any of us ever understand?
It is silent & somber in the car when we arrive to the area that surrounds Ground Zero. I see too much space for Manhattan. I hear sounds of workers and see the lights ahead. Yet it is eerily quiet for New York City. Prior to arriving at the actual site, single tears begin their flow …
I see people (probably illegally) hawking NY t-shirts, and photos of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, as it burned – then crumbled. I can not believe they are here to make a buck. I want to publicly banish them from the sidewalk, donate their photos to a museum and fine them forever for being so heinously disrespectful. Shame on all of you and anyone who bought anything.
The moment I step out of the vehicle and shut the door, I am in a shroud of cosmic mourning and confusion. I am almost knocked to the ground by falling objects I can not see. I feel things hitting my back and know there is overwhelming sorrow still in the air. I look up and sense tracks of smoke. I smell death emanating from building shells. I sob uncontrollably, and can not lift the weight of tragedy from my own aura. I am absolutely enveloped in the grief of thousands. I hear souls still screaming; Inner sounds I will never be able to erase; Sonance which will forever haunt me …
During the time that I studied history in school, pages were filled with details of crimes against humanity in other places, other times. We pretty much only had books. In that regard, children were somewhat protected from the harsh realities of war because instantaneous technology did not exist. We did not live CNN or have cable connections in other countries. Our lessons were learned, not lived.
The United States of America has always stood tall & proud as the land of free and home of the brave. We still are, though we now must attempt to heal our wounds. The future of our nation lies with the children studying history, current events, and witnessing war firsthand. I pray for their wisdom and strength in difficult times ahead.
Today, I find myself grateful for being able to be with my family. To be near them. To know they are safe. There are so many others who are not so lucky. Those who pain can never be relieved, and who can never hug their loved one again. My heart is with all of them on this anniversary of destruction. September 11, 2001, is a major reason why I do not live in Hawaii'i anymore, but now stay on the East Coast, where I can get to all members of our families. Thus, The Write Traveler was born. So you see, the disaster of that date changed my life, too.
It is our responsibility, as citizens of the greatest nation in the world, to continue exhibiting our collective pride. To keep our American flags flying high. And to never again fall prey to a tragedy such as September 11, 2001. This is the day skies were emptied, lives were stolen and war was declared upon us. It is also a day that none of us should ever, ever forget …