Four more days….
It’s odd that I’m counting the days until 9/11.
It’s not Christmas where one would do that.
It’s not vacation where I always do that.
It’s not even a birthday where some people usually do that.
It’s the countdown for September 12th, where I can go back to whatever normal is. It’s the day where that deep breath I took in the beginning of August gets exhaled. It’s the day when the dark cloud in our family begins to slowly move away until next year. But I don’t have to count down then… I just wait until August to come next year to do that.
I decided last week that I would go to the museum today and commit to my shift. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to be any where near the Memorial, the Museum or even The 9/11 Tribute Center, but there’s a bigger part of me that can’t stay away. It’s where I feel that people “get it.” So I thought today would be a day of comfort and for the most part, it was.
I got in early and went for my usual morning cup of java before my shift began and I ran into another docent. We began to talk and before I knew it, I was tearing up. Now, he wasn’t there on 9/11 but he “got it.” Thankfully, we both had to clock in, so I composed myself and decided to do over my morning. It’s easy when you have the group of people I work with. They somehow can sense something is up. All you have to do is say, “I’m not up to this.” And they are ready to fill in.
It was a pretty easy morning until I decided I wanted to look in on the Congressional Hearing held at the Foundation Hall in the museum this morning. Several other docents had already gone to see it and I thought why not? That’s what always gets me into trouble, the why not’s.
I joined the hearing as the Police Commissioner was talking about the events of the day and the almost events since 9/11. I heard the Fire Commissioner speak as well. They all made their valid points but I was getting that choked up feeing. I began to make my exit when the President of the September 11th Families Association began to speak. I wondered why was he speaking since the hearing was about homeland security and why NY needs more funding. He spoke about the importance of including 9/11/01 in the curriculum of every school in every state. He spoke eloquently and stated how young teachers now were in their teens when 9/11 happened and they could speak of where they were and how it affected them but their hands are tied when it comes to explaining/teaching more than just the reason for a moment of silence.
He spoke about the importance of educating our young ones, so they can have an understanding of why this happened and know that it can’t happen again.
I remembered then how days after 9/11, I heard some teenagers talk about beating up some people because it was their people that did this. I thought how this would create another kind of war that we didn’t need. I understood then the reason why he was speaking.
Then he began to speak about the many who have died since 9/11 because of illness. I kept saying,” Leave now Sonia.” My feet were glued to the marble floor. I knew it was coming. “There are hundreds of people who are sick and dying because of 9/11.” I didn’t hear past that. I began to relive the entire day, remembering the days after and then thinking of my own cancer and now my husbands. I kept saying, “Leave girl, leave, you’ve got work to do.” But I would not budge.
Fourteen years ago, I was praying to God that he bring every one home safely. Fourteen years ago, I lost my trust in many things I didn’t have to think twice about. Fourteen years ago, the joy I had since I was a child, seeing a plane take off and being near the highway as a plane went over our car, was gone. Thirteen years ago, I was a very grateful woman that my cancer was caught in time.
Two years ago, the peace I was finally feeling within was once again torn from me, when we would be given my husband’s diagnosis. One year later, the diagnosis would be worse.
Today, a man who lost his son on 9/11 didn’t talk about his loss. He didn’t talk about what it did to his family.
He stood up for all those that have died since 9/11 and all those who are sick and dying. ( I did a mental fist pump in the air. Finally, someone is standing up for them… then the sad realization came to me; we were them. )
He talked about the future, our children, the country’s children and how important it is to teach 9/11.
He pointed fingers at the Panel and said, “That’s a shame! That should not be! Why are we not teaching our children about this, so that…..” And that’s when my feet moved and I knew… I knew that my decision not to be at the memorial this year was the right decision. I knew that teaching 9/11 on 9/11 to students who have no clue is the greatest way I can Honor and Remember those taken from us. Most importantly, I hope to leave them with the message that hate is taught and love does conquer all.