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Posts Tagged ‘9/11’

Right now, everyone wants to know when we’re going to get back to normal, myself included. The short answer is: never. Of course, we’ll get back out there eventually, open the economy, hug people, travel again. Of course we will. The world has been through pandemics before and will resolve itself at some point. To quote one of my favorite movies, “Life finds a way.”

However, we will never get back to the normal we knew. We never do after catastrophic events. Think about life before 9/11 and the subsequent bombing attempts soon after, if you’re old enough to remember. In February of 2001, a few months before the attacks, I went to Ireland with a group of friends. Going through airport security and customs was really not a big deal. If I remember correctly, we just walked through metal detectors. When we landed in Shannon, we did have to walk across a mat soaked in disinfectant to kill the germs on our shoes because of Mad Cow disease. That was it. Since then, air travel has definitely changed as we know it. Shoes and belts come off, cuffs get unrolled, and we get full-on body scans. Heck, I even got a pat down at Detroit Metro this past February, and I was just on my way to Boston. We suddenly had a new normal. Traveling by air will never go back to the way it was before, and neither will a lot of things when COVID-19 is done with us.

I don’t know what will change, exactly. Perhaps grocery quantities will always be limited, or stores will keep one-way aisles. Maybe we’ll all have to have our temperatures taken before we’re allowed on an airplane. It’s hard to imagine what the new normal will be. Maybe the changes will be positive. A better health care, system, anyone? More respect for workers that we now know are essential?

Whatever happens, life won’t be the same as it was before. It will be interesting to see where we are in a year or so. All I know is that I can’t wait to hug people again.

Stay safe. Stay home. Wash your hands.

 

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Here it is again, yet I can’t seem to shake the horror every time it comes around. People say that it’s like when JFK died, that you will always remember where you were. I know that I will.

It was my first week of field trips at the Dearborn Historical Museum. For whatever reason, I didn’t have any groups scheduled that day and I was grateful. I remember the sky. It was my favorite, a deep, deep blue with no hint of clouds. I wanted to change some things about the program I was working and I anticipated productive day. Around 8:30, as I settled into my office, the phone rang. It was our boss, Mary, who had not come into work yet.

“Turn on the tv, there’s something going on!” We turned on the small tv in the office and there it was, the defining moment of the 21st century. I won’t go into specifics, you know them, but for the remained of the day, until they closed the city buildings at 2:30, we watched, awed, terrified, shocked, as did the entire world. Who could do such a thing? Why would they do it? How evil do you have to be to let yourself go there? It still haunts me to this day, the utter hate that would drive one to wipe out thousands of people. Did they think of those who would die? Did they know that they were innocent? Did they know that know that that very morning, someone had kissed them goodbye, told them that they were loved? Perhaps a father heard, “Goodbye, Daddy!” from a small sticky toddler that morning or a Mother regretfully gave her still-sleeping child a kiss as she left the nanny in charge, never dreaming, not one bit, that they wouldn’t be back that evening.

I didn’t know anyone who was there. I lost no relatives, no friends. I don’t know why that this day, every year since it happened, fills me with dread and sorrow that never seems to completely heal the rest of the year. I want to believe that no one can be that depraved, that calculating, but we see it more and more. Boston, the school shootings, threats of chemical warfare. Why? What can blacken someone’s heart to the point that they feel a massacre is necessary? I don’t understand. I never will.

Tomorrow is September 11. I will remember and I will try to think of all the good that is there in the world and that evil can’t possibly win. I will pray. 

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