Today is one of those days that you look back on and know what you were doing when. It is like remembering where you were or what you were doing when you learned that Kennedy had been assasinated, or that the Challenger exploded, or that John Lennon has been killed. Today, most all of us can recall that Tuesday in September 2001 and all the emotions that went with it.
Today we will bring up those memories once again and we will pause in the hurried pace of our lives and think about the tragedy of that morning. For some it is a very personal tragedy whle for others we are a part of the national tragedy. But we all think back to that time if only for a moment.
For my wife and I, we were celebrating our 10th anniversary by giving ourselves a Caribbean cruise followed by a few days in the parks. That morning the ship's alarm bell sounded and the Captain came over the cabin speakers telling us what was happening. For us, and for most everyone else on that ship, the cruise was over. Yes, we were still at sea, but the things one associates with a cruise were over. Instead, a numbness settled on the ship as we all gathered around televisions, emailed loved ones for information and supported each through memorial services held on board.
The next day we were at sea headed back to Port Canaveral and by Thursday morning we were making our way, through the rain, to Walt Disney World.
There was a tropical storm parked just off the coast and it rained hard that night. The next morning we were going to Epcot, but not before being evacuated from Fort Wilderness Campground. The amount of rain brought the possibility of flooding. So after moving into Port Orleans Riverside, we made it into a nearly deserted park. We were in the World Showcase near the American Adventure when the entire park paused to remember those who were lost on Tuesday. That day, even the park was sad.
It is hard to quantify how much someone loses in events of this magnitude. Some people suffered the most profound forms of tragedy. Me, I was blessed in that I did not loose a family member or a friend that day. But I do feel that I lost a bit of my innocense, as I believe many of us did. We faced a harsh reality that morning and left a little of ourselves behind in the process.
The events of that week were some of the saddest I had ever experienced or wish to experience. All the magic in the world could not bring a smile or replace a compelling need to be with family and friends. So, my wife and I walked out of the park, got in our car and drove home to Tennessee.
I write these things simply to say, I remember.