Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Regular Day. Until It's Not.

You get up and go to work. It's routine: You commute in, you get your coffee, get to your desk, turn on the computer, start up the databases and the email client, and off you go. It's just another day at the office, nothing special, everything as regular as clockwork.

Except that, a little while later, nothing is regular, or ever will be again.

A little while later, you'll be standing at the blown-out window of the 90th floor of your building, agonizing over the choices you've been left -- between burning to death slowly, or jumping out and ending it quickly. Imagine how stunningly surreal this moment must be: All you did was come to work this morning. And now, you realize, this will be your last morning ever.

Why? How could it have ever come to this? And who would ever have expected to face this kind of choice on a clear, bright Tuesday morning in New York City? Just by going to work?

Think about this -- because I have, a lot.


The other thing I think about on this day every year is a kid.

I imagine a kid, waiting outside a school or a daycare or standing at a bus stop. Waiting. And waiting. And waiting. For parents who will never come. Because both of them worked in the Trade Center. And now lie under tons of rubble. Imagine being that kid: not knowing what happened to your parents, or why; not knowing where to go or what to do. Whether or not you know or understand it on any level, your family is now utterly and completely gone. Forever.

I don't know if this actually happened -- I don't know if there were kids who lost both parents that day. Honestly, I don't want to know. Just my imagining of it wrecks me every time I allow my mind to go here. I don't think I could stand knowing that this was someone's reality on September 11, 2001.


The third thing that always comes to mind on this day is the paper: The vast quantities of paper flying everywhere after the first plane hit. Offices are made of paper more than anything else; they always contain more paper than people, furniture, or anything else.

I'm sharing this here, because music always expresses my emotions so much more deeply than I can in words, and this video in particular really resonates:


One of the comments (made today) underneath this video says everything I could:

Never forget that each one of these softly falling papers represents a human life. Never forget that each whispering voice was silenced unjustly. Never forget the black sky represents the void left in the lives of the victim's families and friends. Never forget that hammering in our chests as our hearts pounded in panic, sorrow and rage. Never forget that, if only for a short time, we came together in concert and created something beautiful out of madness.

11 years. Like yesterday.


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