We Were Changed Forever

Posted by Bonnie Kantor on Sunday, September 11, 2011

As I watch the reading of the names on this 10th anniversary of the horror that was 9/11/01, I am as raw as was that day. The people we remember today were at work or traveling somewhere. It was just a day until it wasn't.

Through my tears and my aching heart, I remember the way I felt as events unfolded and I can't even imagine the pain of the families standing at the memorial today. In addition to these families are the ones who have the blessing of survivors and injured--physically and mentally--whose lives are also forever changed by that day.

And those who were in the city that day and felt what seemed like an earthquake. The phones didn't work. The cell phone lines were shut down. No one could leave.  Everything stopped.  But the Internet was up. My partner, Linda, and I were sending emails all day about what was going on. Every bright, clear, beautiful fall day she says, "It was just like this that day. It makes me totally anxious." 

Who of us is unaffected by that day? Unchanged?

That week,  I went to services at Temple Emanu-El in Edison and was asked to choose a piece of paper from a basket. Each slip of paper had the name of one of those who perished. Of course there were more slips of paper than attendees at the service, but each of us chose a name to focus on during the service.

I was amazed when I looked at the name on my paper. It said Mark Bingham. He was one of the heroes on flight 93 near Shankesville, Pennsylvania and he was gay. We all knew that. It was all over the news. And I had him in my heart that night during the service and the special prayers.

I had him in my heart long after, too. I kept that slip of paper. For a long time, I kept re-finding it in the pocket of the jacket I had on that night. Now it lives on my bulletin board.

Today is the 10th anniversary of that day, but every day marks the change in each of us and in all of us, as individuals and as a nation. I remember and mourn with all of you.
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