Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nine Eleven...Fifty Eight

So I got up this morning knowing that today is my birthday. In celebration, given that it’s a Sunday, my first act was sleeping in. As I trudged from bathroom to the kitchen to get a glass of juice & take my morning meds, I had a nice feeling knowing that, on my computer, there would be some nice messages from friends and family. Sure enough, there were. Seventeen emails, a couple of e-cards. People posted to my Facebook page their well-wishes. I read through them and I smiled. Then I turned on the television. It was 8:46 a.m. 

The moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center ten years ago.

And I got somber. Up until that moment it was a nice morning. It instantly switched to what the rest of the world knows September 11 as. I watched transfixed the moment of silence, followed by the President reading from the Bible. Then people took turns reading names of the deceased at the podium. Ten minutes later, they had only gotten to the B’s.

We all remember where we were ten years ago. It is one of the timestamps on our lives that we each will never forget. For me, I was celebrating my 43rd birthday with a morning smoke outside my office (I still smoked at the time). A man came out of an adjoining building telling me we were at war. I thought he was nuts. Going back into my office I found out the awful truth on the television. There were the smoldering towers, one plane crashed into each, eventually falling to the ground.

And I get selfishly mad. My thought was ‘These motherfuckers did this on my birthday.’

I am not very proud of that thought, as lost at the moment was the gross human sacrifice while my mind stayed self-centered on how it affected me. But that’s me. I am a contradiction of thoughts, as most are, and goddammit, this was about me, not about those poor souls who were jumping from the towers to their deaths. When the towers fell, I finally gave up any thoughts of it being a day of personal celebration and accepted the realization that the day that marks my entrance into the world concurrently marks the exit of 2,983 others at the hands of terrorists.

Prior to 2001, I used to tell people how to remember my birthday. It’s what you dial in an emergency. No such memory jogs are needed now.

So, on this and every September 11 from here forward and hence, you all will remember what this day truly means.

For me, it means another candle on the cake.

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