10.9.09

Day 257. The Protecting One.

This will be my second post about 9/11. While some find some of the continuing melodrama annoying to me this is still a day that affects me very personally and very deeply. While not in New York City that day in 2001, I did live in Washington DC. I knew people who were on the planes. Its still the most scared I've ever been, and the most scared I think I will ever be...

September 11th was experience enough. All the "singles" at my work, which included Stephen at the time, came over to my place and Stephen made us M&M pancakes. We also made him go outside when we first heard a sound of a plane (you never notice these things - they fly over you every day, but that day, we heard every plane that took off). That plane just turned out to be one of the many f-14's surveying us all that day...

But September 12th dawned a new day. A weird day. It was normal and it wasn't all at the same time. I got up early as usual to walk the dog. It was crazy quiet, but as I walked up the exterior staircase of my brownstone, all of a sudden I came within what felt like just feet of a Blackhawk helicopter. My apartment was at the crest of a hill at the top of Connecticut Avenue and so it seemed, at that moment, that I was at the highest point in all of DC. And there was the Blackhawk. And there was the pilot. As I said, it seemed he was so close. Obviously he was a safe distance away, but I can tell you this - I saw into his eyes. And he looked at me. He just hovered there, and we looked at each other in the early morning of a whole new way of life.

There's no way to ever know or find out who this pilot was, but he was there. And it made me feel better on that day. It reminded me that we will go on. It reminded me that there are so many who commit their life's purpose to protect others. It gave me my first sense of peace after that awful day.

I think of that helicopter pilot a lot. And I particularly think of him every single September 11th. I pray for his safety. On that day, he meant everything about me, us, our communities surviving.

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