I wanted to feel the comfort of shared grief. “The quilters were a blessing to me.”
Let me explain…
Standing before the television, getting my last look at the news before beginning the day, I couldn’t comprehend the scene before me.
A large plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York City and completely disappeared. Smoke and flames were billowing out at a point six stories from the top of the building. The remnants of the plane had not appeared on the other side. It didn’t make sense.
I knew I wasn’t watching a video or a re-run. How could this have happened?
I called to my husband who was working outside. “Come in here and look at this.”
As we stood together before the television, another large plane appeared and flew into the second tower, not emerging on the other side, causing an explosion of smoke and fire.
As the day progressed, a tower collapsed and disintegrated into the ground sending unbelievable amounts of soot and smoke racing through the narrow streets.
Hundreds were running away in an effort to escape the terrible scene.
An event, which I have never viewed, although I know it was captured by cameras, shows thousands of people jumping from the fire in the buildings to their deaths on the ground. I cannot bring myself to look at it.
It was reported that 400 police officers and fire fighters were killed while attempting to rescue as many as possible from the blazing buildings. These brave men led many to safety. They are heroes. This is America. Tragedies such as this don’t happen here.
As the day wore on, I couldn’t draw away from the sight of the events before me. I felt fear and a heavy sadness for what was happening in New York. How could anyone living in the United States of America believe this could be possible?
Thousands of people had gone to work that morning, never to return to their loved ones. How do we accept such an event except through fear, confusion and sadness.
Later, as the hours passed, a report was given that a passenger plane was down. Flight 93, had crashed and disintegrated in a field in Pennsylvania. Forty unbelievably brave passengers attempted to take over the plane. All were killed as they tried to retrieve control from the terrorists.
We remember them as heroes.
A report was given about a fourth plane with 184 passengers aboard which had flown into the Pentagon. Many were killed. The scenes before me could not be denied. It was reported Fight 93 had been destined to destroy the White House. Because of the actions of the passengers the plane had crashed into an empty field.
That night our church, which will hold 300 people, held a prayer meeting. Every available place was filled. This was the beginning of a new awareness. There are people who hate us because we exist. They hate us so much, they willingly die in order to kill as many of us in this country as possible.
I felt a strong need to reach out to people far away, wanting to feel the comfort of shared grief. How could that be accomplished? My recently developed hobby of quilting had led me to discover a program on the Internet designed for exchanging quilt materials. Choose a listed name and address, send twenty-four two-inch pieces of material in a variety of colors. They would be sown into a quilt. I should send my material to them and they in turn would send theirs to me. Along with the material, the guidelines suggested also sending a little note about myself, where I lived and briefly about my life.
I received exchanges from every state in the union including one from Israel. Eventually there were enough squares to make a full sized quilt, covering both sides with the material received. Opening each package I felt warmly connected to these women I would never meet. I felt strengthened knowing that their hands had prepared the material, which I now held in my hands. The quilters were a blessing to me.
Each message I received now resides in a folder, for remembering friends unknown.
I was sixty-six years of age. My life and thousands of others, could never be the same. We must not let the evil existing in the world change us as persons or as citizens of the United States of America. The events of September 11, 2001 have been burned into the minds of those of us who witnessed it.
To many of our youth, September 11, 2001, is only a piece of history. It may be likened to the story of the First World War, Viet Nam, or the Korean War. The difference is this happened in the United States of America in the twenty-first century. It didn’t happen under the leadership of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. It didn’t happen when Theodore Roosevelt or Harry Truman held the office of president. It happened under the administration of the forty-third president of the United States of America, George W. Bush.
To President Bush, in office for less than one year, fell the responsibility of dealing with a people who hate us. These are people who consider our very existence to be an affront to their god. It fell to our president to comfort many who were frightened and grief stricken.
This isn’t the world in which I grew to adulthood. Could I have imagined a foreign nation taking the lives of 3000 people on a fair September morning in New York city? Would I have believed I would be a witness while standing before a television in my home as it was happening?
The answer is no.
We must NEVER FORGET September 11, 2001.
The memories remain vivid on September 11, 2018. Sadness comes quickly. I WILL NOT FORGET.