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Doing Life Together

Today is always a sobering day. It’s one of those days that will forever be in our memories.

There have been other moments like 911 in my life:

The Shooting of President Kennedy. I was very young, in a grade school classroom, but I vividly remember hearing the news over a loud speaker and people crying. We were dismissed to go home. It was an age when we didn’t lock our car or house doors, we knew our neighbors and violence wasn’t seen on TV. The shock of a shooting was not a daily thing, especially when it involved our President.

Then there was high school. The day they announced draft numbers in our state. We were sitting in the band room and listening to the assignment of draft numbers to birth  dates. I remember watching the faces of the older guys in my high school. Some looked frightened, praying their number would be high. My middle brother was #323. Such a relief. My older brother was drafted.

Then came a day in June. It was summer break and a beautiful day in my small town in Michigan. But it became a day no family ever wants to experience. When I came home from being out and about, an army officer was sitting in our kitchen. My brother had been killed.

Years later, I was working on an inpatient psychiatric unit. We had just finished rounds. I was at the nurses station when the images of the Challenger blowing up in the air with those astronauts on board stunned us all.

911 was one of those days.

Surreal in many ways as I was at the Jeep dealership getting my car serviced that a.m. The TV was on in the waiting area but I wasn’t paying much attention.  I was glancing through magazines until I heard an announcer talk about the first plane hitting the first tower. At first, I assumed it was an accident. I called my husband and told him to turn on the news in his office. And then, the second plane, people running, ash falling, and I thought of friends and family in NYC and wondered who was safe. It only got worse and those pictures of fear were all over the television.

Where were you on this day that we remember?

Take a moment.

Trauma has a way of staying with us. Our strongest memories are usually associated with strong emotional events that produce fear, love or rage. It’s like we take mental snapshots during those highly emotional times and those snapshots stay with us. So today, as you review those snapshots in your memory, remember to pray for the families who lost loved ones, for the first responders and all those affected by the ash and smoke. It was a day of tremendous suffering with moments of incredible bravery and survival.

Where were you on 911?

Let’s never forget!

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