Monday, September 18, 2006

Candles in the Window

One week ago, I got home late and lit four candles and put them in our front window. Two red for the Twin Towers, one blue for the Pentagon, and one white for United 93. I started doing this five years ago, on the night that everyone was holding candlelight vigils for all the victims of 9/11, and have made a promise to myself that I will do so every year, just as my little way of remembering all of them.

Five years ago on 9/11, I was evacuated from work after everything happened. Tried in vain to reach my favorite cousin and his wife in Manhattan, and cried when I finally talked to him. Called my brother, but his Naval base was in lockdown and he was put in the air, so I talked to my sister-in-law, trying to calm her. Had a GYN annual visit that afternoon, and waited while my doctor tried to find his son, who was working as a Congressional page at the time. And sat in front of my TV that night, hugging my kids and crying for all those people who couldn’t hug their families anymore.

Five years later, I have more in common with some of those people, having buried a child, just as I do with the parents of the men and women who have lost their lives serving their country. I feel their pain in a more organic way, and understand better when they talk about how there’s always something missing, at every birthday, at every holiday, at every big lifetime event.

And at the same time, through all the sadness and grief that day brought, the humanity that came through was humbling. Compassion was not shown best that day by the politicians, but by the complete strangers reaching out to one another. God bless us all.

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