Saturday, September 10, 2011


It used to be that September meant it was time to go back to school, time to do some canning. September is my birthday month, and my mom’s, too.

Then 9/11 happened.

 That morning is etched in my mind. I’d taken our daughter to school. It was cool, clear, a beautiful early fall day in Wyoming. Returning home, I walked in the front door to the television blaring, and Bill saying, “Look at this. Look at this.”

I immediately recognized the buildings on TV. The World Trade Center. I’d been there a few years before on a homicide investigation, having stayed at the Vista International Hotel, which linked the two buildings together. My view of the Statue of Liberty out the window of that hotel room flashed before me and I remembered that my partner, Ernie Halcon, was irritated because his room faced the other direction and he could not see her. But now one of the towers was burning. “What show is this?" I asked, figuring what I was seeing was a movie.

Bill glanced up at me the grim truth in his eyes. “This is no show! This is real. It’s happening now. A plane crashed into the building a few minutes ago.” And then a second plane came into the picture and slammed into the second tower.

Then came the Pentagon, and then Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

We watched firefighters and police racing into the scene on foot. “Don’t go, guys,” I whispered. “Don’t go.” And then the buildings came down.

My horror, my sorrow, not only as an American, but as a human being, knew no bounds, and was experienced on a visceral level millions of times the world over.

Since then, tens of thousands of our young men and women as well as thousands from the ranks of our allies, have gone to fight the 'war on terror' and have come home again, every single one of them different than when they went.

And so many of our sons and daughters have died.

All I could do back then was watch. All I can do now, to honor those lost and those forever changed, is to remember.

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