Fateful Day

I think we all remember where we were on this day eight years ago.  That is how we frame the experience.  That is how it was burned into our memories.  The context is in many ways inescapable and even as we reframe it with new memories of each September 11th since, we recall where we were at the moment we found out.

Me?  I was on the other side of the world.  I watched in disbelief as CNN broadcast the images onto a tiny TV in Hua Hin, Thailand.  Twelve hours of time and thousands of miles separated me from the United States, from the smoke, from the falling twins.  Even oceans away though, it was clear that much had changed.  I muttered about how horrible this was for us, the United States.  My Thai friend simply stated, “No, this is horrible for all of us, for everyone in the world.”

Today, here at Hyde, we held our annual remembrance of the day.  It opened with the bagpipes playing, closed with our collective voice singing “Amazing Grace.”  While I’ve remembered the event each year, I am particularly struck today by two of our students and what they shared.  In the past I’ve heard from students and peers who spoke about friends or friends of friends who were lost.  Today, two brothers, Anthony and Ed, spoke about missing their father, who was lost as the Towers fell.

I opened class today playing Bruce Springsteen’s song, “The Rising,” looking for inspiration from his music about how to again tackle these difficult memories and emotions.  The album, and this song in particular, is a call to remember that day.  It is a call to remember those lost and the sacrifice of the many who have stepped up since.  By invoking the spirits of loved ones lost, by singing about “a dream of life,” Springsteen helps me, and hopefully these two young brothers, see the way forward.

Best, John