Everyone knows where they were when the towers fell. You don’t even have to say the ominous date, anyone over 25 knows. Yesterday marked the 18th anniversary. In some ways the tragedy of that day and all of it’s sadness has given way to a certain melancholy felt by a lot of Americans. A longing for the intense patriotism that permeated our entire population as we watched together, cried together, prayed together, sang together and buried our dead together. We were united. We set politics aside for a while, looked in each other’s eyes, hugged our kids a little tighter and loved a little freer.
I remember the Christmas of 2001. It just seemed we needed something under the tree besides stuff. I sent out a request for letters requesting the answer to 10 simple questions. I don’t even remember what they were but something like: Whats the best advice you have ever been given? What’s your best Christmas memory? …stuff like that. I printed the emails containing the answers I received (and there were many) and placed them into our tree branches. In between the unwrapping of gifts, the stocking surprises, and snacks and bloody mary’s we puledl out a scroll and one of us would read it. We laughed. We cried. We rolled our eyes. We sobbed. We hugged. I still have those pages in my Christmas scrapbook and every year I pull them out as I put up the tree and remember the day.
Our daughter Katie and my brother Dave were both in Manhattan the day the towers fell. That Christmas the greatest gift our family shared was the fact that they came home to us. Katie was walking out the door of her hotel room to catch a plane home after being in the city with a friend. She had been at One World Trade Center shopping just twenty four hours prior to the time the second plane hit. Dave had been working in the city for weeks, training for a new position with his company. Somehow they found each other through the chaos and shared an evening. She wouldn’t make it home until Saturday when a train got her as far as Meridian and her Brian picked her up.
This morning my friend Kathy Wilkinson posted Boatlift , a video on Facebook that I had never seen. It’s powerful. Watch it all the way to the end. It’s full of rich quotes I would rather you heard from the sources than read in my post. I’m humbled by these people. Since a lot of my readers are boaters I felt compelled to pass this along. I’d like to think all of us salty folks would have joined in this effort had our vessel been in the area. I hope anyone close to the Abacos and Grand Bahama, should they be able and allowed, might be moved to do a similar thing.