Friday, September 11, 2009


It's no longer possible to wake up on Sept. 11 and view it as just another day, so I won't be writing about health or fitness today.

For eight years now, at least for those of us who live in the Northeast, it has been hard to trust a beautiful September morning. That Tuesday dawned so crisp, clear and promising.

It was my day off, and I was in my car, on my way to go mountain biking, when I heard the reports on the radio that the twin towers of the World Trade Center were no more. I at first thought it was a hoax, a modern-day version of a War of the Worlds broadcast, until I heard the voice of the late Peter Jennings. He was someone I trusted, at a time when I trusted few.

I went ahead and rode my bike, because I didn't know what else to do.

When I returned home and turned on the TV, I couldn't bear to watch for long. To continue would be to endure an endless loop of horror — of flames and smoke and falling bodies and buildings collapsing into dust — so I shut off the TV, and my phone, and spent the rest of the day and evening in a state of disconnect.

The days immediately afterward seemed equally unreal. The skies fell eerily silent, as the nation's air traffic came to a halt.

I also remember the unusually good manners on the road — so many cars with American flags fluttering from their antennas, their drivers letting me merge with a friendly wave instead of cutting me off and using gestures of another sort. Everywhere, there seemed to be a sense of solidarity, of community, like I've never felt before.

Neither the silent skies nor the return to civility lasted for long.

It is hard to trust a beautiful September morning. I'm relieved that here in the Northeast today, it is gray and rainy.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautifully written piece. Your words about that awful day ring so clear and true. You speak about what many of us were feeling on that day. Yes, indeed, we all felt a sense of common shock and regarded each person with more kindness, compassion and civility. But all to quickly the kindness, compassion and civility faded.

    Now..the lack of civility is growing and lack of respect is getting a lot of attention these days. I guess many of us have forgotten the lessons of September 11.

    Let's honor those who lost their lives and the families who are still grieving by being a little kinder, gentler and more compassionate with those around us.