Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11: Remembering the Lost

I remember that day. I remember the sunlight streaming into my office as I pored over a stack of expense reports the construction manager had just submitted. I remember debating another reminder of his meal budget. I remember wondering how he just couldn't wrap is mind around something so important.

Janet came into the room. She was one of the two senior architects. She spent her day wooing clients while her husband, the other senior, spent his days hunched over his designs. They officed at the head of the workroom, and neither of them joined the drones all that often. Her presence captured all our attention.

"There's been an accident in New York City," she said. "A plane crashed into a building. I don't know any more." Someone pulled out a small radio, but plotters and printers drowned out it's news. Hank drove two miles home to bring in his TV.

"What a terrible accident," someone said. "Are there any survivors," asked another. And then the second plane barrelled in and we knew. We were dismissed for the day.

I called James as I drove to my Mom's house, begging him to leave work and meet me. The radio mentioned the Pentagon and I was quite sure it was the end of life as we knew it. We sat together in silence, watching, waiting, hoping on that day and on many more to come.

I remember the replays. I remember the looks of terror. I remember the replayed voice mails and reread e-mails. I remember the faces of those searching for their loved ones. I remember the count. I remember the names scrolling the bottom of the screen. I remember those who lost their lives. And I still struggle to wrap my mind around something so important.

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