Monday, September 11, 2006

Never Forget

A few months ago while talking about the film "Flight 93" in this blog I said I wasn't sure I was ready for a film about 9/11. Truth is, like everyone else, I'm still trying to adjust to the reality of what happened.

Over a couple days time I watched a few programs about the fifth anniversary and the aftermath of 9/11. Watching the chaos that was wrought still brings a sour feeling to my stomach.

Like Pearl Harbor, J.F.K's assasination and the Challenger explosion, 9/11 has now become an instant reminder of what people were doing when they heard the news that day. There are those of us who will "Never Forget," but then there's already a generation of four-year-old kindergartners who weren't even born when the terrorist attacks occurred. For them the day is something they will learn about in history books or carefully told stories from their parents.

I was actually working for a radio station in Beaver Dam when the attacks happened. I worked an afternoon shift and had just returned from a morning walk when I heard our stations broadcasting ABC News uninterrupted. At first like others I believed the plane they were talking about that hit the first tower must have been a small plane, until I watched the second plane hit.

It was actually three days later that the enormity of the event hit me. I was busy working on local angles to the story. One person I talked to was a frantic mother whose 20-year-old son had just moved to New York and was working in a building near the World Trade Center. She couldn't reach him and was understandably concerned. I eventually reached him and found out that like many others after seeing what happened he just had to do what he could. He gave blood and delivered water bottles to those he could help. It didn't occur to him to call Mom because he had survived.

I really never tire of heroes stories from 9/11. A good piece on 60 minutes talked about Tuesday's children, the kids that lost parents in the attacks. Most are still young or just hitting high school age. The grief is still strong, but they are overcoming their fears. One teenage girl lost a parent on one of the planes. She couldn't deal with airplanes at first, now she's taking flying lessons. America is all about resilence.

In the photo for this blog are flags at memorial field in Inwood Hill park in New York that were put up for the anniversary. Each included the name of one of the victims. For me it's easy enough to put 9/11 in perspective. More than 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attacks. That's roughly the size of my hometown. As long as nature allows me to have memories I will "Never Forget."