It was a normal beginning of another school day in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Then, suddenly, a breathless silence fell like the stifling pause just before a thunderstorm. Strange rumblings followed by abnormal tremors began. The school administrative office advised teachers to hold students in classrooms and follow afternoon pickup order. What?! I just got here! The bell hasn’t rung for first period yet.
I had not seen a TV screen or heard a radio since I left my home half an hour away. I purposely begin my days in silence. Then, another tremor: a second announcement to “keep calm” and the sound of weeping in the hallways. It was not until I got back home did I finally understand what had happened–one of the USA’s darkest days.
My mentor lost her father when the towers fell that day. His final cell-phone call had come to her minutes before he perished. My husband lost a cousin. I lost a potential coworker and friend because shortly after that dark day, she and her entire family left the country fearing violent repercussions aimed at any person from the middle east. I let her sunflowered bulletin board stay up until Thanksgiving. Floundering in my job without her friendship and my mentor’s professional guidance, my first semester at the job became my last.
I am not quite sure even after 15 years that there is not still a little sop of anger and resentment swirling around the bottom of that stewpot called September 11, 2001. I can’t tell anyone to go ahead, take a a peace of bread and clean it out because it might still ruin a few stomachs. There remains a strange feeling in the bottom of my colon that backs me away from finishing my portion of that stew. Until that day we as a nation can call the pot “finished”, I pray for heaven’s most tender mercies and hope that the passage of a little more time will make this day sweeter. May we all be finished with it one day.
Survive the day,