Friday, September 9, 2011

10 Years Later.

I was awakened by a frantic call from my friend John. On the other end of the receiver, a shaken voice, lacking breath conveyed to me that the US was under attack. "BEV! Turn on the TV." As I did, a second plan crashed into the Twin Towers. "Oh, my God...Oh my God" was all I heard on the other end of the phone. I didn't speak throughout the majority of the phone call. I found myself speechless- unable to utter a word until I was about to hang up. "I love you, John. Be safe." John and I first met when were in high school. He and his family were like a second family of mine. I walked outside the backdoor, and stood on the landing looking up at the Sear's Tower (it will forever be the Sear's Tower to me despite the name change) off in the distance as I dialed my friend Jessica. Jessica and I too met in high school. I was numb and my voice was so quiet, she could hardly hear me. She suddenly said, "Oh my God...the whole house just shook!" Not five minutes later, so did mine from the fighter jets flying over...the loud rush over to head directly to guard the sky over the city I grew up 20-minutes west of- certainly, "my kind of town."

I recall how incredibly beautiful weather was- the sky was bright blue with big puffy clouds. Y'know, the kind of clouds that you look up to while laying down on a bed of grass as a kid and imagining the cloud formations are different things: a unicorn, a bunny, a turtle... Who knew such danger and hate lurked among the sky? It wasn't before long that a silence filled the air. Growing up under a flight route between ORD and MDW, I had almost grown immune to the sound or visual of a plane in the sky. However, now that they were gone...there was something wickedly unsettling in my bones.

I was suppose to head to class at Concordia University in River Forest where I was a teacher candidate in the College of Education. Instead, I found myself picking purple phlox from my Mother's garden and placing them in a big vase in front of our house with a sign on the porch that read, "Prayers. God Bless the US." I found the US flag, and placed it out in front our house for the first time ever. As the TV blared in the background, I sat on the front steps taking in all that I could with deep long breaths...feeling so helpless.

Helpless because I immediately wanted to comfort all the families of the victims. As a daughter of a Mother who died when I was 17, my heart ached for all the children who suddenly had lost a parent, or loved one. As someone who was to be a teacher and taught dance (for 16 years while in Chicagoland), I immediately thought of the children. How would this impact them? What new tangled web are we now forced to get in that they will end up paying for? What to say...?

I went on to dance. Yes, though I missed my classes that day, unable to find motivation to attend....I was able to DANCE. I went on to teach dance that night to an ocean of pink that filled the room with giggles, smiles and a precious innocence that I prayed would stay one day more than it was suppose to. More than ever...we needed to express, to freely dance...

To be a female born on this sacred soil...what a blessing! True, our country isn't perfect-- what country is? However, thanks to a line of strong women (men too!) before us that paved a way to ensure our rights and freedom we will never know the fear, oppression and unjust that many women live on a daily basis in other countries.

Ten years ago, I just met Ashish. We started dating the October after 9-11. He's of Indian decent. It seems like anyone with brown skin, regardless of where you were from, were under suspicion. So, not only were we a interracial couple and looked upon 'differently' but he had brown skin which of course, many people looked at as an obvious indicator that he was 'one of those' people. Airport security became a bit of a predictable situation for us when we would travel. In our dating days, we'd fly on Southwest. So, as one of us were detained at boarding to be 'further searched' the other would run and grab us seats. I look at a lot of things that happen in life like a piece of thread. When things happen, it makes a knot. The knot isn't necessarily a bad thing in the thread-- but instead, it's a good thing! It ties to closer makes the thread stronger.

9-11 also taught me how we really are a global world. Nothing happens in the world without a ripple effect. NOTHING.

I found myself ending conversations with, "I love you." I found myself hugging people until THEY let go. In many respects, it made me grab on to what was important and hold on and never let go. In this case, that was Ashish.

My heart still aches for the lives lost in this tragedy, the families and friends of the victims, the 'heroes' that rushed in when everyone else was running out... 10 years later, there is another thing that now haunts many New Yorkers; cancer from the toxic dust. 10 years later, we still hope for peace on earth for our race- the human race.

I recently found a company that helps me think of possibilities beyond September 11th. As per website, Peace Cord Bracelets "is a a partnership between ARZU STUDIO HOPE and Spirit of America, like-minded nonprofit organizations affecting positive change in communities across Afghanistan. Production of Peace Cord™ creates jobs for impoverished Afghan women, delivers access to education and healthcare, and provides funds to U.S. troops for humanitarian projects to supply necessities like shoes, food and school books to isolated Afghan communities." I just ordered my bracelet and look forward to wearing it as a symbol of peace.

As we remember, may you find hope and peace in your heart.

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