September 11, 2006
Five Years
Posted by Christine Hurt

I wish that I could write a pithy, touching post to commerate today, September 11, that would be linked throughout the blogosphere, but I don't think I can.  I don't tend to think of that day in political terms, as either the start of armed conflict, or of a new era of domestic conflict between security, privacy and profiling.  My first thought isn't even of Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda.  In my memory, the day stands out as very personal.  Like a sentimental sap, I always tend to watch or read those tributes to the widows of 9/11 who were pregnant, sometimes unknowingly, on the day their husbands died because I was also pregnant 9/11/01.

In fact, I was trapped in the doctor's office that Tuesday morning enduring the rather unpleasant gestational diabetes test.  The office did not have a TV or a radio on, so my only news came from a man in the waiting room with a Walkman and from my husband on my cell phone.  I remember the man saying, "They've just taken the GM plant."  (I have no idea where that rumor started.)  During my doctor's visit, Houston leaders evacuated downtown, including Paul's building.  If terrorists were targeting what they hated about America, many buildings named after oil companies, ringed with petrochemical plants, seemed like a probable target, I guess.

Our family was supposed to meet my parents in Port Aransas toward the end of that week, and although planes were not flying, my parents decided to drive and not change our plans.  This seemed sort of stubborn to me at the time, but looking back I can see that in the face of an uncertain future, we just want to be with our family in a place that feels like home.  I remember CNN being the background to our weekend there (complete with a comic-relief CNN ticker headline "Cheney Has Slept at Camp David Since Tuesday").

So, although I understand the ripple effects of this morning five years ago, my thoughts stay primarily in the first ripple:  the loved ones called by the passengers on Flight 93, the ones left behind by the victims of the WTC and Pentagon crashes, the firefighters, the volunteers and the heroes.

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