Facebook this morning is full on reminiscences about 9/11. It’s amazing how the mention of this date washes a tidal wave of feelings over me, and I am sick to my stomach. I’m sure everyone has their own story to tell about where they were when they first got the call to “Turn on the tv! You’re not going to believe what’s happening.”
It was a perfectly beautiful day in Asheville: sunny, cool, with an intensely blue sky. I had just moved to Asheville from Charlotte and was counting my blessings. Life was good and about to get even better.
Then I got that phone call that changed everything. The shiny little bubble I was living in was shattered into a million shards. As I turned on the tv, the second plane slammed into the second tower, and it was obvious it was intentional. As I watched, all the lives of those on the plane ended and clearly the lives of many of those in the towers died then too. Still, the reality couldn’t sink in. What was happening, and what would happen next?
I started sobbing and couldn’t stop. Then we could see people leaping to their deaths from the towers because their was no escape. I felt as if the floor beneath me had given way and I was falling with those who jumped. I was alone at the house and shaking badly. I called my friend Marlene Jacoby and asked her if I could come to their house because I couldn’t be alone at this time. She told me to come right over, and we were glued to the tv for the rest of the day.
My kids were fine. Natty was in culinary school in lower Manhattan, and Abby was at Sarah Lawrence in Bronxville, where students assembled outside on the quad to sit in silence. She said that the strangest thing was that the normal noise above the city was quiet. Then the students heard the drone of a solitary airplane. They froze. Then they realized it was a US jet assigned to patrol the airspace over New York in case a larger attack was about to happen.
That feeling that we in the US are sheltered from all the terrorism that threatens the rest of the world was gone. We were as vulnerable as everyone else. And because we had wrapped ourselves in a false sense of security for so long, we felt even more vulnerable.
Yes, we are still in danger from terrorism, and even more so, we are in danger of senseless attack from lunatics in this country who have high-powered assault rifles and use them, with their “Right to Bear Arms” protected by the NRA. Crazy. The founding fathers certainly didn’t intend to shelter gang-bangers with AK’s or misfits with a grudge or angry loners wanting their fifteen minutes of fame.
In honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, I intend to make a stand in favor of gun control. We can’t control much of anything in this life, but we can at least try to keep automatic weapons off the streets.