Have We Forgotten?

My daughter came to me that night around 11:30.  She trembled with fear and crying.  I struggled up from a slumber that fought back in blissful ignorance, but a mother can't ignore her child, even if she is twenty-two years old.

I turned on the light.  "What's wrong?"

Her unlikely reply made me sigh.  "I'm afraid of terrorists."

"Whatever for?" I fell back against my pillow.  "The odds of you coming in contact with one is so little."

"But I might," she said, her voice on the edge of hysteria. "What if they ask me if I'm a Christian? If I say yes, they might kill me. I've heard that some kill you if you say no."

I fought exasperation.  Every evening, I struggle to get a good night's sleep. Once I've reached the edge that tips me into slumber, interruptions usually ruin the whole night for me.

"I don't think it's worth worrying about," I said, wondering what set her on this train of thought. I had experienced other nights with her like this, nights when a thought ripped into her soul, creating insecurities that multiplied.  She sought me at these times, begging for solace.  Sometimes, I got frustrated.

It took time, but she finally calmed down and went to bed to sleep in security and confidence.

The next morning, the planes hit the towers.

I waited in trepidation for her to wake up and discover her late night fears transformed into a new reality.

Yes, the account above really did happen on the eve of 9/11, and it rocks me to the core how my daughter's mind went there only hours before the tragedy occurred.

It's amazing to me, still, how much that one morning changed our outlook on life.  But yesterday, as I watched the documentary on CBS, I realized we've forgotten.  Sure travel became harder, but we grumble about it.  For a short while, we turned to God, and churches experienced huge attendance.  People extended kindness and looked out for each other.  That's what tragedy does to us.

But today, I wonder, have we forgotten? Do we remember, ten years after 9/11, that our world is different? It's hard to maintain that heightened awareness at all times, I get that.  Time numbs the pain.  We need that to go on, to survive, but seeing those horrific images, again, this past weekend, in graphic detail, narrated by those who survived at Ground Zero, tears at my soul.

Do we really remember the way we should?


Tia Bach said…
Great post and excellent question. No, I'm afraid we don't. All the coming together post-9/11 has turned back into being torn apart by the smallest things. It's sad really.

Your story gave me chills. I can't imagine your poor daughter's reaction the next morning, and yours.

Check out my post and memories if you get a chance: http://depressioncookies.blogspot.com/2011/09/where-were-you-that-fateful-day.html.
Anonymous said…
That is pretty intense Barbara. Many times we get a bad vibe about something which turns out to be nothing. Can't get over the fact that it was the very night before...
Carolyn Volpe
Vonda Skelton said…
My son in law was there. I will never forget. Ever.

I'll be posting his story on my blog tomorrow. I hope you'll check it out.
Carolyn, I know. It really freaked me out the next morning after doing the mom-thing and reassuring her all was well.

Vonda, I will definitely look for your blog post tomorrow. I had a friend there and didn't rest until I found out she was OK. I can't imagine what it was like to have a family member there.
With time, we cope. With time, we forget. The 10 year anniversary might remind us to stay united, all faiths together, and to avoid the traps set by a few extreme individuals.
Laila Knight said…
I don't think we could ever forget. The pain is still in the hearts of many. What's important is that we keep it from repeating itself and never let our children forget.
Some people have forgotten, certainly. Heard of a 22-year-old's "joke" when the subject of 9/11 came up over Labor Day: "What's the difference between 9/11 and a cow? After ten years, you're not still milking the cow."

I'm still aghast.
Cheryl said…
Without wishing to cause offence, I think the 22 year-old had a point, even though it was delivered with a severe lack of tact. Let me explain what I mean.

It is good that we remember those who were killed and the people who lost loved ones. It is good that we remember all the heroes, like the people who brought their plane down rather than see others killed. That kind of self-sacrifice should never be forgotten.

But the media frenzy of the past few days has left a horrid taste in my mouth. Press, politicians and others with an agenda *are* milking it for all they are worth. Keeping us afraid, using it to control us and take away basic freedoms.

So let's not forget, but if we allow them to use it to rule our lives, then the terrorists won.
Cheryl, Everyone is entitled to their point of view, but it we did not acknowledge this day, people would complain that the press and politicians don't care. Can it be carried too far? Sure it can. I haven't seen any of the milking you refer to, but that doesn't mean it's not out there. The things I saw only served to show me how desensitized I had become to 9/11, and I appreciate the reminders of the severity of the attack on the US.

On another note, I have a friend whose son-in-law was staying at the Marriott World Trade Center that week. You can read his account of that day on her blog: http://vondaskelton.com/Blog.htm?blog_id=328

It's a powerful message.
Crystal Collier said…
We really have forgotten, and what about the younger generation, those who never lived through it? How can they possibly understand?
Crystal, I know. It's so hard for them to grasp. When I was a kid, my teacher said she hoped someday we all would live through something like the Great Depression. My mother was horrified at the idea, but I get it now. We don't grasp the frailty of life, until we face difficult times...not that I would wish an experience like that on anyone.
Matthew MacNish said…
Hi Barbara. I'm here from Rachael's campaign blog, even though I didn't sign up in time to take part in it. Now I'm following your blog, so:

Nice to meet you!

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