“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
I will be the first to admit I am ignorant to history and most current events. It is not that I do not care what is happening in our world, I believe it is because my focus is on topics and news that is not found in history books nor newspapers. However, there are certain moments in my history that I will never forget such as September 11th, 2001: the day the twin towers fell, along with millions of Americans due to terrorism. Any of us who are old enough to remember this day know exactly where we were, what we were doing, how we felt, and can share a story to that tragic morning that cannot ever be forgotten. I was living in North Jersey as I was going to college and searching for my cure to chronic pain. We had a land line (a phone that is connected to the home and cannot be taken outside, many children I care for have no idea what a land line is but who can blame them?) Our phone never rang before eleven in the morning because most of my friends had been up partying until the wee hours of the morning. The phone rang right around eight am. I answered it in a daze, annoyed to be woken up. One of my friends was on the other line crying her eyes out and all I could get out of her was: turn on the news now Jessica. I awoke the people I lived with and we turned on ABC. I just remember silence, we had no idea what was going on: these kind of things did not happen close to home. I remember one of our friends falling to the ground, his hands covering his eyes weeping: “My dad works in the Twin Towers.” That is the moment things got real. I immediately called my dad (shocking) but it was impossible to get thru to anyone in the surrounding areas. We lived very close to NYC and drove there often to go out or stay with friends. I kept thinking: my dad is probably calling me and may think we are in the city and is petrified. Moments later, maybe seconds someone said: “Lets drive to the overlook up the street to see the city.” We arrived to this overlook, which we only ever used to drink and seconds later saw the second plane hit the second tower and a couple of my friends dropped to the ground in tears: some shaking and some speechless. I did not know what to do nor what to say: I just stood there without words which if you know me never happens. None of us could reach our loved ones on the phone: there was just too much activity on all cell phones to get through. I don’t remember why but we drove to seven-eleven (a mini mart place for those who have no idea what seven-eleven is, you aren’t missing anything haha.) I have never seen such despair anywhere, the world was silent. The next week we were off of school due to the proximity of our college and the Twin Towers. We did nothing. Literally, we did nothing: just sat there for days watching the news, consoling friends, and honestly just staring at the walls.
We all have our memories of 9/11 and my memory is so insignificant compared to the tremendous, horrendous losses and tragedies people faced on this unforgettable day. The one thing I will not forget is how quickly our country, especially the city of New York came together. The city became united: race, ethnicity, social class, gender, age, job, friends/enemies came together to help and love one another. We were one with the Universe: how I wish we were able to remain, one day and not because of a tragedy. There are so many things that happened that day that I have a very hard time thinking about because it is just too painful. I cannot imagine the phone calls made from people knowing they were about to die but wanting to say goodbye and I love you to their loved ones. I cannot imagine being in one of the Twin Towers having no idea what was happening. Nor can I imagine jumping out of a window knowing either way I was not going to survive. I certainly cannot ever imagine being a loved one to those who passed on this tragic day. I can handle helping people with chronic pain, I can handle helping those whose loved ones committed suicide, I can handle telling families of their loved ones passing as I was an elderly social worker for many years. War, death, tragedies such as 9/11 are just certain things I cannot bear to think about nor watch. I guess we all have to pick and choose our battles right?
However, today is Memorial Day: a day to honor and remember those who have served our country and take time to think of those from the past to the present who continue to do so. The picture featured in this post just spoke to me, I did not even realize until just now that this heroic man was born on June 7th, my birthday. For me, I think of the families impacted by those whose loved ones serve our country. I see the above picture and think of my daughter and my eyes fill with tears. I am so proud and grateful for not only those who serve our country but the wives, husbands, children, and parents of those who serve. I am a brave person and clearly can endure a lot of pain however, it would take a shit load (excuse my language) of courage and strength to be a family member of one serving and risking his or her life for our country. I do not know the person represented in the above picture nor do I know, whom I assume to be his daughter. But, for some reason I want to thank this man and his family for their strength and courage to do something I myself am not sure I could do.
Happy Memorial Day. My three year old already asking “pool open Mommy?” I am so blessed to have her asking me this silly question at six am on Memorial Day. I never want to take that for granted.
This post is dedicated to: Aaron Andrew Weaver born on June Seventh, 1971 who served our country up until his passing on January 8th, 2004.