September 11th, 2001.

“The day Hell broke loose,” some call it. “The tragedy of our failures,” others lament. Nine-one-one. 9/11. It’s been ten years, now. Ten years since this event. Within only minutes, I found more than a dozen articles “dedicated” to 9/11, filled with rage towards the assailants. I found pieces of writing complaining about what should be the “main symbol” at the memorial. I’ve tried and tried again to connect with the writers, but I can’t; and it’s simple.

Their words feel empty to me.

There’s a lack of life and passion in the writing – only fury. I can’t tell you that I’m without anger at what occured. I’m beyond angry; but I hold respect for the dead. This article isn’t dedicated to what I think should be set as a testimonial in honor and remembrance now. This isn’t a justified verbal attack on the al Qaeda.

If I had the strength, this would have been a memorial writing to praise heroes and mourn victims.

Though ashamed, I’m not afraid to say that I don’t have that courage. When I woke up this morning, I went through a little over a dozen stories written down by survivors of the destruction. I left for church soon after; but when I returned, I spent another two and a half hours reading tales of heroes, people like us, who died. Social life called me away again between noon and 1PM. As soon as I got back to my laptop, I returned to my search.

A little after 1:00PM, I tortured myself, listening to recorded calls. I’ve pored over the transcripts of conversations; I’ve listened to the screaming; I’ve watched victims be forced out by the inferno to “jump” out of the Towers. I’ve observed a young woman – she couldn’t have been older than her early twenties – bless herself, spread her arms, and leap off a makeshift ledge that had protruded in the collision.

I’ve gone over the final words of several passengers on the different flights and I’ve heard the shattered, snapping crash of bones and building; the thud of bodies as they finally hit the pavement; the frantic attempts to escape made by many people who tried to climb to safer windows. People who died.

I stopped at 4PM. I couldn’t force myself to go further than my study of the Towers. The few gems of hope that I discover between these fearful videos and recordings couldn’t douse the pain that it left me with. I can’t explain to you how frustratingly terrible I felt, and still feel. I can’t make you know the emotion that’s welled up inside me, reading over these last moments. I can’t show you the panic.

I was going to write this as some great piece of literature. I couldn’t. I’m sorry for that, less so out of guilt, but more out of the feeling that I have somehow let them down by not respecting them as I so frequently preach. I can, however, state without a doubt that I will never forget them. And come this day next year, I’ll be at it again.

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