Last night Jim and I watched NG’s interview with President Bush as he gave his perspective recounted thoughts and events from his memory of that horrible day .
Marci and Adam gave me his autobiography Decision Points for Christmas last year. Since I’d read the book, I found this interview with President Bush to have much of the same information. But watching the corresponding video along with his narration gave it a different feel.
I thanked God all over again that He placed President Bush in that position for such a time as this. I don’t know of anyone who could have handled it with such wisdom, resolve, dignity, and grace. He was able to calm and comfort us while assuaging our anger toward the people who sought to destroy us. He gave us hope that we would be safe again and things would return to normal. He also gave us confidence that justice would be done. We are a better country for having had him at the helm during one of the worst days in US history.
One of the most horrifying scenes for me was seeing the towers collapse and knowing there were thousands inside, including the brave rescuers. Another terrible scene was watching as desperate people trapped in the upper floors of the Twin Towers resigned themselves and jumped to their deaths. Only desperation could drive people to that point, and that kind of desperation is almost unthinkable.
Another horrifying event (though we couldn’t see it) was to think of all the families on the other end of the telephones hearing their loved one’s last words and grasping the finality of the situation. Think of people like Lisa Beamer, the mother of two young boys. Her husband Todd told her the plan he and fellow passengers had devised to take their plane down rather than allow terrorists to fly it back to the capital and destroy national treasures and the people inside. He pledged his love and said goodbye before announcing, “Let’s roll.”
It brought back such painful memories to rehearse those scenes again in my mind. But it was also therapeutic for me. It has been long enough that I’ve adjusted and can watch it, leaving me to ponder whether that’s a good or bad thing.
Time does heal emotional wounds, but only if we process and internalize them. I was just blocks away from the Oklahoma City bombing, and it rocked my world. I have lost people very close to me, some of them under very tragic circumstances. It hurts so much, but ignoring the pain and horror only makes it worse. By allowing ourselves to fully experience the hurt, we are able to recover from it.
Sometimes people will not view the bodies of family or friends. They think they don’t want to hear or see the terrible truth, but not knowing is far worse. Think of those whose family members are missing. They feel they must know what happened to their loved ones. Even when the truth is too painful, not knowing what happened is even worse. It’s a lot like the process our bodies go through as a cancer or even an abscess is removed. It hurts like crazy, but that’s the first step toward healing. If we don’t admit and deal with the issue, it is much worse. We must go through the process and internalize the pain.
I knew no one who died on September 11, and it was one of the worst days of my life. Those who did, especially those who lost close family members, may take longer than ten years to recover from the pain. All of our lives have been irreversibly changed because of that day.
Take time to commemorate the tragedy, if for no other reason, for your own mental health. We must stop, think, remember, grieve, and then move forward in the new normal that is our life.
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