Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It Was a Tuesday Morning.

It was a Tuesday morning.

My daughter was 9 months old that day and was due for a check up with her pediatrician. It was one of those mornings where the air was crisp and cool as a golden sun hung brightly in a clear blue sky. I was a little apprehensive, going this appointment alone. But my daughter had been progressing well and previous check ups had pronounced her fit and healthy.

It was 8:30 AM.

The appointment went very well. My daughter was once more declared to be strong and healthy. She barely cried when she got her shots. She was well behaved and contented and happy. I felt good about the day. I carried her back out to the car into the beautiful Tuesday morning.

It was 9:30 AM.

In the space of an hour, the world had changed.

While I was with my darling little baby girl as she went through her check up, planes had slammed into the World Trade Center in New York City.

September 11, 2001. My daughter was 9 months old and healthy and happy and now living in a world that was more uncertain than it had been an hour earlier.

As I listened to the radio, I was scarcely comprehending what I was hearing. When I arrived at my father-in-law's house, I could barely believe my eyes.

The calm serenity of that Tuesday morning shattered by terror that fell from the skies. And not just in New York City but in Washington and Pennsylvania as well. The golden sun in the clear blue sky blocked by clouds of smoke and ash.

All parents worry about the world our children will inherit. But that day brought those worries to the fore in a way I had not felt previously. I truly feared for the future that was coming.

My daughter is now 12 years old...and 9 months. She is in many ways still so much a child and yet I'm starting to see the foundations of the intelligence and wisdom of the woman she is becoming. If she can hold on her to dreams and keep her ideals alive and if there are many more like her, we may have less reason to fear for tomorrow.

But as we mark this day when eyes raised to an empty sky then lowered in prayer to those lost on that day, my thoughts go back to when my daughter was a still a baby, so healthy and happy but also so very helpless, held by her father who wondered about what was going to happen next in a world changed in the course of a single morning.

It was a Tuesday morning.


Empty Sky Memorial, Liberty State Park. 
This is a memorial for the residents of New Jersey who died during the attacks on September 11, 2001. The two-walled structure is engraved with the names of all 746 New Jerseyites who were lost that day. The walls line up with the Manhattan skyline to direct the viewer’s gaze across the Hudson River to the place where the Twin Towers once stood.

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