Sep. 10th, 2006

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I was driving home this evening having gone into town, to the hospital to send a mother and her newborn home. Delivered her late Friday evening and t'was time for her and her son to head for home and a new life. The local CBS radio affiliate carries 60 Minutes simultaneous with its TV airtime, and I tuned in just in time to hear interviews with children who lost parents in the 9/11 attacks. In rather short order, I found myself in tears.

Hearing the pain of these young people, most only grade schoolers when they lost their parents, cut right to my heart and made me remember my own terror that morning. As I listened to them, I wept and finally had to pull over to the side of the road.

We used to have a TV in the bathroom. My habit was to switch on and listen to the morning news, as I showered and went through my morning routine. I was leaning over the sink when I Katie Couric announced that a jet had hit the World Trade Center in NY. I jerked my head up to actually look at the television, just as the camera panned from the burning tower, to film the south tower as it too was struck. Stunned, I stood there slack-jawed, towel wrapped around my waist, toothpaste dripping onto my chin, and watched the horror unfold. As the south tower fell, it dawned on me, my sister and brother-in-law might be at the base of the World Trade Center.

For the first 11 years of her marriage, my sister and her family lived directly across the street from the WTC. After having their second child, they opted for the better schools of suburban New Jersey, while commuting into Manhattan for work. They took the Path train into NY weekdays, changing trains in their old neighborhood, to travel uptown to my bother-in-law's business. Realizing they might have been there when the towers came down, I became frantic, and it was almost 5 hours before I was able to get through to anyone back east to find out they were alright. By the grace of God, Ian had decided to go in early that day, and since he'd left without her, Joan had decided to drive in later that day. She never left NJ. They closed the bridges and the tunnels, when the towers fell.

Unlike these kids, my nephews still have their parents. I still have my sister. We're intact, though not the same as we were prior to 5 years ago. My sister and her husband lost many friends they knew well. They no longer fly together. Should something happen in the air, they want the assurance their children will not lose both parents at once. It was months before either of them slept well. And knowing them as I do, I doubt that either of them is sleeping well tonight.


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