Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yes, the Banner Still Waves...

...does that star-spangled banner yet wave
o're the land of the free and the home of the brave?

This beautiful flag flies at a car dealership on E. 200th Street.  I drive by it all the time, and I've always said, I gotta take some pictures of that.  The flag is huge and it takes a lot of wind to make it furl.  This past weekend, I had the wind (not that kind), and I had my camera in my car.  So I stopped, and this is one of several shots that I took.

Eleven years ago today, I was at home with my baby girl, folding laundry while watching the morning news.  Then, a small bit of breaking news interrupted the chatter on the Today show -- a plane had just struck one of the World Trade Center towers.  No one knew what to make of it for quite a while. At first, it was thought to be a small plane. Was the pilot suicidal?  Was he a disgruntled employee?  Was this merely a mechanical malfunction?  Who would do this on purpose?  Just as the media began to get a hold of a few details another plane struck the second tower. I wrestled with a sick feeling -- we're under attack. Details started to come in about other planes. Rumors flew.  Another plane hit at the Pentagon.  Sometime in the midst of this unraveling horror, I called my son's school.  Nathan was in kindergarten; I had to have him home with me. As it turned out, the schools were to let all the kids out early.  I just had to wait a bit.

I waited. And I watched the Twin Towers collapse in real time -- just my baby and I, alone. I picked her up, held her close, all the while staring at the TV screen. I think I talked to my neighbor Jackie.  This can't be happening, I thought. My former husband and I had separated just two months earlier, and I was still in the throes of that painful transition. So my family was just my son, my baby daughter, and me.  I don't know what I told my son when I picked him up...something about us going home and staying there where it was safe. I felt numb.

Flight 93 had flown right over Cleveland; a neighbor had watched the plane change course.  All day I alternately stared at the TV, hugged my kids, paced, and went outside to look at the sky.  I felt that I had no one to protect me, and that I did not know how to protect my children.  I was alone in my thoughts. Ideas sprang to mind about making sure we had enough food and water stocked up, and gas in my car.  In order to be prepared for...whatever.

Today, as I dwell on those memories during this writing, my stomach twinges when I hear the not-so-distant roar of jet engines. One never knows when terror will strike.  But if or when it does, I trust that this beautiful banner will yet wave over the land of the free, and the home of the brave. I trust, I hope, that our American freedom will prevail.  Today my eyes well up at at the evil that caused such immense pain that day.  And today my heart fills again with gratitude to all the American troops who answered the call to defend our nation.  To, and my children. 


Kristine said...

Beautiful post, and beautiful picture you took.

Pat Washington said...

 Thanks much, Kristine.

Lisa A McAlister said...

Thank you. I was realising the date of the anniversary had past so I decided to look on line. I was wondering what the rest of the world was doing with remembering 9/11 when I came across your blog. I related to the small children and being home with them and watching the news. The only thing that was different I was in Australia but i remember tears falling down my face as we watched in horror what had happened on TV on that horrendous day. Thankyou for sharing...