Thursday, May 5, 2011
Story Corps is attempting to record a story for each of the nearly three-thousand victims on September 11, 2001. A wife or child, for example, describes that day, her emotions, and how she carries forward. Or he might describe their last conversation. The first one I heard on NPR was three or four years back; I was driving to school to teach a Composition class and showed up with red eyes. A little boy had described his grandfather who'd perished in the twin towers.
This morning I cried as a woman described being on the phone with her husband, 9:30 that morning, as he attempted to find an escape route. When the smoke became thicker, and his fate became clear, the two stopped talking about escape routes. She said she wanted to crawl through the phone line and lie with him, and he told her that she needed to keep on living for the two of them.
I didn't cry on September 11. It was too big, too abstract. I was 21 and so worried about our retaliation--who were we going to bomb, what innocents were going to die--that I'm not sure I processed the individual tragedies here at home.
But each of those victims--in the twin towers, the pentagon, Flight 93, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere--has a story. Nearly ten years later, I think I'm better able to grasp these losses. And I take comfort in thinking that someone who loved them carries their memory; shares it. So far, Story Corps has over one-thousand stories of September 11 victims. What an important treasure.