What Do You Remember Today?

AUTHOR: | POSTED: September 10, 2012 | COMMENTS: 4 Comments

Carolyn Savage




This is a tough day.  There’s no denying that.  The anniversary of such trauma and loss will never, ever get easier.  Considering I didn’t lose anyone eleven years ago this morning, I can only imagine the pain this day holds for the familys left behind.  And because of the way I’m wired, I swear I can feel their pain. 


It’s uncanny too, how much today is like that day.  A Tuesday, with clear blue skies, and cool late summer air giving way to the warmth of the sun.  It even smells like that day.  Clean.  Crisp.  Hopeful.


It’s amazing how quickly that morning changed for the world–in the blink of an eye and the crash of four planes.


There are sounds that I equate with that day.  Not sounds of the actual catastrophe.  I didn’t hear those in Ohio.  Instead it was silence.  Traffic disappeared.  Parks emptied out.  The stillness that swallowed that morning didn’t choke out the sunshine, but did send a layer of heaviness that settled in on our world.    It was as if the colors of the day dimmed, as the evilness of what had happened settled into our lives. 


And there are people I remember.  People I didn’t know, but cried for anyways.  A handful have been emblazened in my memory.  I’m not sure why their stories stuck with me for the past eleven years.  Perhaps they were the only ones I fully comprehended, as I remember turning the television off, not being able to watch another loved one cry for their loss.


I felt guilty about that and always forced myself to turn the television back on.  Like it was my duty to watch and honor the victims.  Looking back on it now, I guess it  was the only thing I could do.  I remember feeling helpless.


I remember picking up Drew at school that afternoon.  There was no bus ride for him, on that horrible day.  He was a first grader and I’d decided against pulling him out of class early.  I understood why many parents rushed to their kids, but for me, I knew the world had been permanently changed.  I wanted my little boy to enjoy the rest of his school day the way he’d enjoyed it only one day earlier.   I think I was trying to extend his “before” because I knew that the “after” was going to change the course of his world.  I might have also needed the day to find the right words.  I remember fumbling to explain the day’s events to my six year old.


Eleven years later,  the feelings of that day are as clear to me as if the entire nightmare had unfolded yesterday.  That’s probably because I’m committed to remembering–to flying our flag every day of the year–to respecting the men and women who have kept our country safe ever since–and to never forgetting how precious life can be.  Even in my lowest moments, and God knows there’ve been more than a few, I remember the victims who lost their lives that day and would give their left arms to stand in my shoes.  In a way, remembering has been a gift and rendered me more grateful. 


So I’ll continue to remember.  It’s the smallest and the biggest thing I can do.



What do you remember from that day? 

Are there any memories that come back to you repeatedly over the years?



4 Comments on “ What Do You Remember Today? ”

  • Katie | September 11th, 2012 9:37 am

    I was a 2nd grade teacher at the time – the principal came on the loud speaker and announced that all teachers were to meet her in the hallway & close their classroom doors. (Being a formal principal, I’m sure you know that leaving a class unattended NEVER happens, so I knew that it had to be something majorly important that she needed to discuss with us!) My gut instinct, of course, was to run home to my own family, but instead I had to walk back into the classroom of 28 7 & 8 year olds and pretend as though I did not just hear this most horrifying news.

    About an hour after we heard the news, my class had library, so I was able to go into the teacher’s lounge. It was then that I found out about the towers falling, the Pentagon & the plane that was lost in Cleveland airspace (that eventually crashed in Shanksville.) Since my mom & boyfriend worked in downtown Cleveland and my school was not far from downtown, a “lost” hi-jacked plane in Cleveland airspace was frightening!

    As the day wore on, my classroom dwindled to just a few children, as parents were picking up their children in shifts. As I tried to make sense of why parents would leave their children in school during such a horrific time, it was brought to my attention that a locked, secure school is probably the safest place for children. (But that didn’t mean that I was any less anxious to get home to my own family!)

    As I reflect on that day, it really was the day I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my boyfriend at the time (who is now my husband of 9.5 years!).

    You are exactly right about the sounds of that day.. it was a chilling silence.

    thank you for this opportunity to reflect on that day and remember!

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  • Kelly Masters | September 11th, 2012 10:22 am

    I will never forget the silence, and the overwhelming sadness we as a nation witnessed.

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  • Emily | September 11th, 2012 5:23 pm

    I will never forget sitting in our New York City apartment and staring at the TV in disbelief. I will never forget my mother walking into our apartment, sitting down, and crying. I will never forget my aunt, who lived at Church and Chambers, walking uptown to our apartment with her daughter in the stroller. When she arrived at our apartment, she was covered in soot. I will never forget that bright, clear September day when our world forever changed.

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  • Marion | September 12th, 2012 5:18 am

    Our son was 1 at the time and my husband who was up late working on his thesis woke me (in the middle of the night our time) to look at the TV. I thought I was dreaming at the time and say something about how the plane couldn’t have just accidentally hit that building and how it could fall down. I still think of the poor people jumping out the windows to save themselves from the heat and smoke and the people in the street covered in dust walking around with ‘that’ look on their faces and in their eyes afterwards. Over here the media televised the reading of the names of each of the people and I hoped each one wasn’t someone who jumped out a window. I wish our media had not shown the people jumping.

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