Last night, when I was scrolling through various images of that fateful day ten years ago, I could feel my chest and throat tightening up. And when I watched this video timeline of the two hours that reshaped our modern world, I was instantly transported back to the moment ... that exact moment ... when I was standing in our living room in my pajamas watching the television and muttering to my husband, "Oh my God. What just happened?"
Last night, I was glued to 10-year anniversary images on my computer, much like I was glued to the television for the entire week following the event in 2001. As painful as it was to revisit those images and immerse myself in the memory, I felt like it was something I had to do.
I felt like 10-years had diluted the shock and horror of that day and I felt like I had become almost calloused to seeing pictures of the burning buildings or images of rescue workers covered in ash. But the more I looked at the images and the more stories I read, the more I was reminded and transported back to that time. Just like 10 years ago, I couldn't look away until I heard one more story or studied one more photograph.
To absorb the images and horrific scenes in to my mind, was to absorb the victims - the survivors - the families - and our country. As a country, we swore that we would never forget. So to absorb all of this, was my way to remember.
Last night, I was reading the tribute that I wrote five years ago to Perry Anthony Thompson.
I was thinking of Perry's daughters, Ashley and Chelsea, who were approximately the same age as our children are now.
At our children's current ages, they wholeheartedly believe in fairies and magic. They would never comprehend that there are people in this world that would thrive on hurting them, or anyone they love. There is a beautiful and yet extremely fragile veil of innocence that surrounds and protects them.
Today we fleetingly entertained the thought of driving to Washington, D.C. for a memorial service. But almost as fast as the idea entered our minds, we reconsidered. Not only because we don't want to face the traffic and any possible loonies that might descend upon the crowd on such an occasion, but because we're not ready to fully discuss with our children the details surrounding what happened ten years ago, today. We want to keep the veil of innocence around our children for as long as possible because we want for them to feel safe in their world.
Our children know next to nothing about September 11. I've read them this book about the Twin Towers that reflect on the landmark buildings during an amazingly happy time. But the children don't fully understand the amazingly horrific time ... the day that those Twin Towers collapsed. They don't fully understand that passenger planes full of innocent people were used as missiles to destroy multiple buildings. They don't know about the rescue workers who rushed in to help, only to become victims themselves. They don't know about the plane that crashed in to the Pentagon, just a few miles from our current house. Nor do they know about the plane that crashed in to the field in Pennsylvania.
They don't know about the wars that we've been fighting and the tens of thousands of lives lost because of what happened 10 years ago, today.
When I think of that beautiful Tuesday morning 10-years ago, I can just imagine Perry tiptoeing in to a dark room to softly kiss his little girls on their cheeks as they slept, before he walked out the door to work.
In just a few hours, their daddy would be taken from them and the veil of innocence that surrounded his sweet children - and so many of us - would be ripped away.
It's just as unfathomable now as it was then.