I’ll be honest, I wanted to avoid writing about Sept. 11th. You’ve already read so much about it in the last couple weeks and I’ve heard so much about it myself. I just wanted to stay away from it.
But I can’t.
This weekend was hard for all of us. Every single person I know over the age of 20 has a “where were you when” story. Everyone has a story about how it affected them. Everyone knows someone they were worried about, whether it was a friend or colleague in New York or D.C., or whether it was someone local that they just couldn’t stop worrying about.
My day was not unlike anyone else’s. I got the news on my computer, went to the television and watched in horror as the day’s events unfolded. From the instant the second plane hit, all I could think about was how badly I wanted my wife to come home.
It all seems almost silly now that we’d be worried about people in Buffalo or, in my case, Niagara Falls. But we had no idea how things would play out and given the degree to which the day already didn’t make sense, who could blame us for not thinking clearly.
I got choked up a couple times this weekend. Try as I may, I couldn’t help but go “back there” mentally, revisiting the fears that I had on the day.
For a male, I’m pretty big on dates. I remember birthdays and anniversaries. I remember what happened a year ago most days. I recall the dates of significant things that happened in my life. The closing date on my house, the day I bought my car, first dates, last dates, etc. I’m not sure why. If I were a computer, I would try to turn this feature off. Frankly, it’s a hassle.
No matter whether you’re big on dates, though, Sunday was probably a big one for you. You could “feel” it around town. The quiet that cried out — people trapped in their own minds.
I went to a Sept. 11thmemorial Sunday at Lockport’s VFW post 2535. “Quiet” was the word that summed it up. No one was on their cell phone. No one was texting. And the conversations that were happening were all in very hushed tones.
State Sen. George Maziarz was there and gave a very short speech. I’ve known the senator for several years. He never shies away from talking. But Sunday he said what he had to say in just a couple minutes, thanking the heroes of 10 years ago — as well as the heroes of today, and stepping away from the microphone.
For anyone that knows George Maziarz, you know he’s a very outgoing person, always working the crowd, shaking hands, laughing. There was none of this on Sunday. He was quiet. Reserved. Maybe it was simply out of respect. Or maybe he was just like the rest of us, trapped in thought, thinking about the things that were important to him.
In truth, I’m glad to have the anniversary pass. It took an emotional toll, one I don’t want to deal with again for a while.
As I said, I didn’t want to write about Sept. 11th. I’d rather focus on something else. But for better or worse, these past few days, nothing else existed.