(Composed September 11, 2009)
Not a breath of wind was stirring, not a single leaf rustling in the trees. No sounds of rush hour traffic, dogs barking, even the birds weren’t singing. Otherwise my morning started off pretty much as usual. It was early and the first thing I did was put my jogging clothes and head out the back door with our dog Cowgirl to go for our morning run. Through the back gate, down the alley, and into the street – then suddenly I stopped. That’s when I noticed it – the unusual silence. It was eerie. Then I remembered what day it is, and so do you. We’ll never forget, will we?
But it was not so much the violent attacks that occurred eight years ago that I was reminded of by the quietness of the morning; rather it was what occurred for that brief period afterwards. Remember how the world became almost silent for a while? There were no aircraft flying, most of us remained close to home to be with our families so there was very little traffic, and if anyone spoke at all it was usually in a whisper. It was an eerie silence, much like this morning, but a reverent one as we attempted to collect our thoughts and gather our emotions.
I remember the urgency I felt to reach out and touch my family as if to re-affirm that they were still reachable and touchable. Then, like most Americans, I wondered what I should do to help. But being so far removed from the tragedy itself about all I could do at the moment was be there for my family, neighbors, and co-workers – and that was okay I suppose. We all felt the need to take care of each other, didn’t we?
What we experienced on 9/11 was humankind at its absolute worst and its absolute best. We witnessed tragedy wrought by one of man’s most evil acts, yet behind that came the greatest outpouring of care and compassion that human beings can give one another.
It was that outpouring of human kindness that I was reminded of in the silence of the early morning, and how we are all called upon each day to care for our fellow human beings – just as we did on 9/11. That may be the most important thing to be reminded of.