How do I feel and remember 9/11? It all happened so fast – it’s like a blur or a bad dream put on repeat that I could not seem to wake up from – or was it more like a crazy action adventure spy movie gone horribly wrong – imprinting steel, blood, and soot on my memories? Honestly, there is a certain amount of numbness that overcomes me when witnessing real life tragedy, because at times it is too hard for my brain to process man’s inhumanity towards man. It’s both horrifying and terrifying at the same time. Horrifying that evil acts were deliberately planned and undertaken to harm others; terrifying because it could happen to me. There is an old Horace quote that explains it: “Mutato nomine de te fabula narrator,” translated from Latin means – change the name and the story is about you.
Back in 2001, I was living in Athens, Georgia, and finishing up my English degree at the University of Georgia while living in a one bedroom apartment with 70’s avocado green appliances. On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I awoke, turned on the tv to the news, and made coffee – nothing but a morning routine here. And then I got the phone call. The sleep that had blurred my eyes was gone, replaced with fear and adrenaline. My eyes focused and I turned up the volume on the news. I no longer felt safe. Reality has an awful way of shaking you to the core. I watched the tv for as long as I could, but I could do nothing to save or help the victims nor could I reach through my tv and punch the perpetrators of this heinous crime. I had to turn it off. Voyeurism to tragedy felt heartless. I felt helpless. I cried and prayed for the victims and their families. I hugged my cat. I told my loved ones that they were indeed loved. Life moved on. I always try to remember the reality of not being personally invincible and that I am lucky to be able to have the luxury to take our country’s security and safety for granted.