Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Remembering ...

It's hard to believe that September 11th happened five years ago already. It still seems so immediate, even though so much has happened in that time for Jose and I--we moved to Korea and back to the US, had our two girls, he went to war and came back....

Five years ago, I was in my office in DC when the towers were hit. My boss, whose office was across the hall, had a news website up on his computer and called me in to see a replay of the first tower getting hit--a strange and horrible accident, we thought. Then he called me in again when tower #2 was hit, and we watched together as the Pentagon was hit and the first tower fell. Dennis mentioned his friend who managed the restaurant at the top of one of the towers. I got a call from a friend who lived near the WTC, which was abruptly disconnected when the second tower fell. Several coworkers came in to worry out loud about a former staff member who now worked inside one of the towers.

My coworkers cleared out of the office, one of them telling me that there was a plane still in the air that was unaccounted for and a rumor spreading up and down K Street that the Mall was on fire. Another soon surfaced that the Capitol had been hit.

During the next few hours, determined to stay in one spot until I heard from Jose (who did not work at the Pentagon, thank God) I watched streams of people walk past my window toward the Metro, until the streets emptied completely and a truly eerie silence descended on the city.

I looked at the news one last time on my computer, saw that the missing flight had crashed in Pennsylvania. I still remember hearing Katie Couric speak for the first time of hints that "there had been heroism on Flight 93." I wondered whether those heroes had saved the lives of my coworkers and I, too, since we were a mere four blocks north of the White House.

Jose called, blessedly safe--no freak trips to the Pentagon that day. I packed up and headed for home. The streets were deserted, and I met no one until I actually went into the Metro station. A CNN reporter sat near me on the train, and the few people there clustered around her, hoping to hear something from her that would make sense of the day's events. She mentioned terrorists. We all talked in whispers.

The rest you know--the somber reports delivered by disbelieving newscasters; the endless streams of terrified people clutching posters of their loved ones and begging someone to please tell them they'd seen this person alive and well and in some hospital far, far away from the devastation; the replaying footage of firefighters going up, up, up the WTC stairways.

I know I promised when I set up this blog not to get political, but I have to say, I find it mind-boggling that we're still sending young men and women--many of whom signed up to defend their country in the wake of 9/11--to their deaths in the name of the victims of 9/11, even though we now know that ties between Iraq and the 9/11 perpetrators are fiction. I honor the victims by speaking out where my husband can't (court martials, you know).

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

9/11 matters. Everyone going off to fight this ridiculous war matters. Those who are speaking out against it matter. Our right to disagree with each other matters.


The Queen-a Athena said...

Good for you, Tracy, for saying what so many of us are thinking, and for doing it so damned well.

None of this makes sense. None at all.

Tracy Montoya said...

Thanks, Chris. Believe me, if this weren't a reading-related blog, I'd be getting my shrill on in a big, bad way.... Grrrr.

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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