There are so many things I remember about that morning and the rest of that day. We lived in Savannah then, and I got to the library around 9:30 and was told by a girl my age what had happened. I was shocked and almost didn't believe her. Or, I thought, if it HAD happened, it couldn't be as bad as she said it was.
I spent an hour at the library, not concentrating on what I was supposed to be doing, then went to my job as a professor's assistant where everyone was crowded around his computer watching the footage over and over again. It was as bad as she'd said.
The professor refused to cancel class, anything that fell out of his mouth was much more important than this national tragedy and, after all, we were in Savannah, Ga, not New York City.
After class I drove to the bookstore where both the Beast and I had part-time jobs and we were both glad to see the other's face. We talked about who we'd been in touch with at home in New Jersey and the laundry list of people we knew and loved in the Northeast was gone through. Who had we heard from? Who was still unaccounted for?
The list started with those closest to us and then the circle gradually got bigger and bigger until we were naming people we knew through other people and liked in the way that you like people you don't know well but connected with once at a wedding or party.
I drove home and fixed dinner, CNN blaring from the living room. The Beast came home and we ate, on the couch, transfixed by the images and noise, the smoke and ashes. We cried. We fought. We finally heard from Woody and we were so relieved. But we also learned that not everyone we knew was so lucky and that one young man in particular had left not only a wife but a young son and another on the way.
What an unimaginable thing to happen to their little family. What a random, horrific, bullshit thing to have happen.
And now, seven years later, are we safer? Do we feel better now that we've exported democracy? Have we truly insulated ourselves against another random, horrific, bullshit tragedy?
I'm not sure.