I wasn’t old enough to remember the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. or President John F. Kennedy. Those events in history cemented in our parent’s brains caused them to remember the very place they stood at the very moment they heard.
I do remember the day President Reagan was shot; Miami, living room, age ten, still in my pajamas, Spider Man preempted.
But when the television clicked off I went about my day like a ten-year old should. The way I hoped all ten-year olds were able to on September eleventh, 2001; being protected from the horror.
When I answered the phone in my Alameda apartment that morning I couldn’t register what my mother was trying to tell me.
“I’m okay,” she said. “Go turn on the television.”
I cried non stop for four days. Four entire days. The horror lasting much longer than the dried up tears.
I didn’t know anyone who was hurt in the attack.
My mother was supposed to be on that fated plane from Boston to San Francisco, but she wasn’t, so that’s not why I cried.
I felt in my bones the terror of the people on those plane and (from the windows of the Trade Center, the waving white flags) of victims begging to be saved.
I swore I could see the souls flying to the sky from those buildings.
I prayed for peace and answers for the living in search of their loved ones on the ground.
The pain was palpable, unlike any I’d ever experienced. It didn’t compare to the death of my father. Not close to the memories of my teenage wounded heart, which I once thought might stop altogether from the unrelenting pain.
This was greater. This hit me like a brick in the gut, heart, and mind.
Every year I watch the documentaries commemorating that horrific day.
Every year someone says, “Oh, I can’t do that! How can you watch that?”
They don’t want to remember the pain.
I don’t ever want to forget.
Where were you? What do you remember?