A DAY TO REMEMBER
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.
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.
Knowing 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.
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.
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
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 as they continued.
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.
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.
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
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?
“The quilters became a blessing to me...”
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 felt the need to reach out to people in other parts of the world, so I joined in the exchange.
I received responses 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 they
had prepared the material,
which I now held in my hands.
The quilters were a blessing to me in a time of uncertainty and confusion.
Each message I received now resides in a folder, for remembering
I was sixty-six years of age.
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.
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,
who consider our very existence
to be an affront to their god.
It fell to our president
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 to it
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.
Photography By Mary Anne Tuck