My thanks to BoomerCafe for including a piece of mine this week:
Thirteen years ago, my father and I were reminiscing about his years in Civil Defense after a 22-year Army career, my mother’s experience during the London Blitz in World War II, and the incredible good that terrible times can uncover in people.
Then, as we were passing through Atlanta on I-75, we spied an electronic highway message board that read: “National Emergency — All Airports Closed.” As the car radio revealed a cascade of events too large to grasp, I experienced a feeling of smallness and vulnerability unlike any I remember as all my illusions of safety came down at once, like those two destroyed skyscrapers.
Four days later, after a Category 3 hurricane had made landfall near my dad’s Florida home and I’d truly begun to wonder whether the world was coming to an end, I took my place in a blocks-long line at Tampa’s International Airport. I was praying this might be the day I’d finally be able to get home to New Hampshire, on one of the very first flights in the country after eerily quiet days of empty skies.
Every single child I saw that day looked scared. Most of the younger ones clutched their backpacks like stuffed animals, if they didn’t happen to be holding those, too. Their parents looked grim, if not equally frightened.
One boy of about 9, who, with his parents and younger brother was waiting to board the same plane I was, seemed unable to contain his terror. His plaintive sounds were agonizing, perhaps because so many of us also had them muffled way down deep. His parents, exhausted after days of canceled flights — a trip to Disney World that had become a nightmare from which they couldn’t seem to awaken — were doing their best to calm him, with no effect.
Gradually, others stepped forward to try, including airline employees. Obviously a polite child, he would hear them out, but then his sobs and agitation returned. He was convinced that if he got on that airplane, on any airplane, he was going to die.
Read the rest at: http://www.boomercafe.com/2014/09/11/remembering-9-11-importance-family
Adapted from Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details: