It happened during the height of my illness. I hadn’t been diagnosed yet, and I was having some seriously rough days with a disease that kept getting misdiagnosed. But this day was one of the few I actually felt good enough to play bridge on Pogo.
Who knows what mundane things my friends and I chattered about. We were a regular foursome from all over the globe and played as often as we could. Whenever we were together, the room seemed to resound with our laughter, even though it was nothing more LOL and ROFL. It was like hanging out with girlfriends.
Then a friend known by each of us dropped in at our table and told us: The United States had been attacked.
I didn’t believe it at first–who would be idiotic enough to attack a giant on his own soil? Besides, this friend was known for her practical jokes. But I checked in the lobby, and people were dropping out of the games so fast it was as if someone had yelled Fire in a crowded theater.
I signed out, too, and ran to the TV in the other room. Fox was showing it: The airplane flying into one of the towers. I couldn’t hear what they said; even though the volume was loud enough, the words didn’t penetrate my shock. I watched over and over, on every channel that was carrying it, until I finally called my husband at work for confirmation that it had really happened. It seemed so much like the War of the Worlds hoax from decades ago–this was television. They could do anything on television. Just because it was on the screen didn’t mean it was true.
That was the way my stunned mind worked at the time. I couldn’t come up with a reason why Fox, CNN, and the rest of the networks would perpetrate such a hoax, but it had to be a hoax–right?
Toby Keith and Alan Jackson wrote the best songs to commemorate the event and to express how I felt about it. For awhile, people were subdued and kinder to each other; we were united in our shock and outrage. And we were in front of the news as often as we could be, watching the devastation.
Eight years later, so many have adopted the attitude of forgive and forget. Not me. Not ever.
I will not foget. I will not forgive.
September 11, 2001