Saturday, September 12, 2009

9/11

This was originally written after the first Memorial Service at the World Trade Center in October, 2001. We have come a long way since that day - as individuals, as a family, and as a nation. Some of these changes are for the better - but not all...

The service was unbelievable - such a mix of emotions - it was very well organized for a hasty job, if you know what I mean. We drove in and went down the West Side Highway to Canal Street. As we drove down the West Side Highway, people stood on the median with homemade signs saying things like 'We will never forget' and 'Our prayers are with the families'. On Sept 12, Jimmy and I had seen similar signs while driving down this road when we were desperately looking for a living Tommy, and we felt that each sign and each flag was a prayer for us in our sad search - now we were comforted by these same signs as we realize that we will never find a living Tommy. On September 12, the signs cheered on the rescue workers. On Sunday, all signs were for the comfort of the families. On Canal Street, all available spaces (fences, store fronts, etc) have signs memorializing victims or cheering on rescue workers. Fences are covered with signs, balloons, flowers and photographs. I have avoided going downtown since the middle of September, as I could not handle being in Tribeca and seeing this stuff every day! It does warm the heart, tho, to see all the love and caring...

Jimmy, Matt and I were standing on Dey Street (seats were gone by noon - we gave our seats and our face masks to an older woman with small children) - we were immediately facing the podium on the stage - we had an excellent view - and also had the big screens to watch, since they showed views of the pit that we could not go to. It was freezing cold, but the Red Cross had coffee, tea and hot cocoa for all – and even started passing cups around towards the end. The service was beautiful: Ave Maria - Amazing Grace - an Andrew Lloyd Webber song (Live in Peace??) that got EVERYONE crying - and God Bless America was unbelievable - we all started singing thru the tears, there was a real feeling of strength and solidarity in that song. But it was all over too soon - and they let us out to Bach (Air on a G String), which opened the floodgates. People who were otherwise alright – maybe teary-eyed but still standing strong - suddenly were sobbing openly and walking with that sickly hunched over walk that we all seem to have when the burden feels too heavy. At that point, several families shouted out their goodbyes 'Goodbye Harry, we love you!' and so on. The press photographers, who started the day ok and became visibly upset as the memorial progressed, started openly weeping at the spectacle of families screaming their final goodbyes to an unimaginably huge pile of smoking concrete and twisted steel.

I can't even write this now without crying and feeling that sick pain all over again. As for Matt, I think this helped him to accept that there is no chance for Tommy to come back. Up until we arrived at Ground Zero he still thought they would find Tommy alive in an air pocket - tired, weak, hurt and hungry - but alive. He is now coming to grips with his loss.