Robyn DeHart
Robyn DeHart

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9/11, Robyn DeHart, tragedy, tribute

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There will always be those moments in our lives that we remember precisely where we were, what we were doing, when they happened. My earliest one of those was when the Challenger shuttle exploded. I was in the 6th grade and we were to watch the launch in science class, but I actually stayed home sick. So I was snuggled up on the sofa, settling in to watch TV and the interrupted the programming to show the launch. I remember sitting up as the shuttle burst into flames, I called my mom at work, shocked. And when we went to Arlington cemetery many years later, that was the memorial I wanted to see most because it was something that meant something to me.

I was in college during the Oklahoma city bombing and I could not look away from the TV. It was the daycare that got me the most, yes the other lives lost were tragic, but what kind of monster can put a bomb in a place with a daycare? All those tiny toys charred amidst the debris and them carrying out those little, bloody bodies. It broke my heart. Still does.

And today, today marks the anniversary of the date we all remember. I was at work. I worked at the university, my alma mater, in a small office with just me and my boss. I was talking to my mom on the phone and she was at home watching Good Morning America and they cut in to the broadcasting (it’s aired an hour later here in the CTZ) to report the hit of the first plane. While she and I were on the phone, the second plane hit. My boss came in muttering something about a terrible thing happening in NYC. I tried to find something streaming live on the internet, but the sites were jammed. Someone in another office rolled a TV out into the hall and we all gathered out there and watched. The Pentagon. The field. People jumping. The buildings falling.

Still today it is hard to wrap my mind around such things. Whatever your politics, killing out of some misguided sense of religion is just wrong. But these moments, the ones we remember so precisely, they shape us, change us. I remember as a child being afraid of Lybia because of stuff we learned about in school. And I remember the plane hijackings of the 80′s. But 9/11 was different. It was so terrifyingly real and close.

So you can remember with me today, tell me where you were or what memories you have, you can let it pass. But today, I needed to pause and remember.


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