I remember my father, wearily taking the LIRR out to Long Island every day to attend funeral after funeral. I remember the kids who lost their parents returning to school. I remember the flag that appeared outside our neighbors’ home to honor their dad. I remember the crushing terror I felt when I was mistakenly told that my own dad was inside building #2, and the relief and subsequent pangs of guilt–for lack of a better word–that washed over me when I learned that he was not; the unreachable man was another student’s father. I remember looking at the twin spotlights that rose from the Trade Center site that we could see from our house if we stood on top of the hill. I remember the American flag patches we sewed onto our school uniforms.
The rest is hazy; a patchwork of sad and frightening memories. And 18 years later, this remains all I’ve been able to write, perhaps because it’s impossible to make sense of it all.
Today, though, we pause to remember the fallen. To remember those who selflessly and courageously gave their lives to save others that day. To remember that in the wake of tragedy, we once came together as a nation instead of dividing. To learn from that. To teach our children. And to show them that, in the words of Elie Wiesel, “the opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference.” ♥️