17 years ago, I lived in a tiny cabin in the woods of Duvall, Washington.
I had a 15 month old baby & I was a stay at home Mom. I was 21 years old.
I was naive in the ways of the world, having been raised in a small “hick” town, and although I had managed to graduate High School, I didn’t even know what the “Twin Towers” were… I barely knew where Brooklyn was, and certainly had no thoughts about terrorism, politics, or war. I did not have a tv, or internet in my home. Nor my own car, and my new husband, being off at work a few towns away, I was on an island.
I had been able to blissfully float through my youth, in the 80’s & 90’s… the most recent “big” war having been Vietnam, and I only really considered it as some idealized time in history… in which our misguided government forced our Men to enlist via the draft, and sent them off to their deaths for a war fought in a country far away… not minding our own business(as a country). I imagined that had I been alive in that time, I’d have been travelling in a school-bus or VW van with my soullllmate and our baby… that I would grow my own food and awake with daisies in my hair and moccasins on my feet. I didn’t “believe” in war… (***edited to add: I did not forget about the Gulf War-Desert Storm, etc. or the the soldiers sent to serve overseas…but admittedly..those were majorly downplayed in our society, although historically significant and majorly significant to anyones lives directly touched)
On September 11, 2001… lonely in the woods, I called my mother while she was at work…. I could not get through to her for a long time and when I finally did answer, she was sobbing. When I asked what was the matter she was going on about planes and “Twin Towers” and “Beth, turn on the tv, are you OK? I have to go, I am coming home. Everyone is going home.”
Clearly ignorant about the world in general, and worried about this mysterious trauma occurring in the world, I scooped up my baby & I walked to my parents home (next door)… turned on the television, and tried to find a channel I could get antenna reception on (no cable in the country).
I recall watching channel after scratchy channel, 4, 5, 11, 13, of the SAME footage, buildings…smoke…flames…. airplanes crashing into buildings… people jumping from rooftops…as the television announcers cried…and were speechless.
I was all alone there with my baby…watching, crying…she was happy, she was oblivious…
But, I was no longer oblivious. On 9/11/2001, I learned what the twins towers were and I learned I would never see them, except in photographs, that I would never think of them without remembering all the individual people..whom died in anguish, unable to HOLD those they love, unable to say goodbye to their children, their parents, their siblings, their lovers. I would NEVER wake up on this day, September 11th, or say its name, without a twinge of sadness, of loss, of grief.