Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembrance

Seven years ago, Stan Hieronymus wrote a piece for All About Beer called "Finding Sanctuary on Nine-Eleven." On today, what I call Remembrance Day for my own reasons, the piece reads well. Of course it does: it's Stan.

Right now, this minute as I write this, seven years ago, I was editing photos from some trips. Nora sat upstairs, home sick from school. Then I got an e-mail from my dad. "Turn on your television. We appear to be under attack." I wrote about the day, and the week that followed, five years later here, and I re-read it occasionally to remind me.

Today is a beautiful, cloudless September day, just like it was seven years ago...which brings that same sense of the surreal. I'm doing an Irish whiskey dinner tonight, which I kind of feel weird about. (Nora asked, "Dad, you'd do a dinner on December 7, wouldn't you? What's the difference?" She's right...and wrong: it's the rawness of it.)

Raise a glass to the victims, and another to the heroes: the firefighters and police, the brave passengers on Flight 93, the servicefolk who responded that day, the construction workers who tirelessly dug through smoking wreckage looking for survivors. And remember. And look ahead.

2 comments:

sam k said...

I went to a breweriana show in Somerset less than two weeks after the attacks, and made it a point to drive the short distance to Shanksville and make my peace. There was a makeshift memorial set up in the middle of town with photos of the strong-willed Americans killed near there, along with personal mementos, placed by family and strangers alike.

I asked for directions to the crash site, and arrived to find Apache helicopters still patrolling the airspace there. The site was not in the permanent location it occupies now, and nothing of the crash site was visible, just a huge stack of round hay bales in a field, draped with one of the largest American flags I've ever seen, and it, too, was surrounded by souvenirs and messages left by visitors.

I've been back twice since to the new site, and the tradition remains of visitors leaving tributes to the dead. Now you can look out over the field where the plane went down and contemplate the events that led to this remote place becoming a shrine to the determination and strength of the American spirit.

It is a stirring experience, and I can't help but think that those people gave up their lives in an absolutely beautiful place...for the rest of us.

Steven said...

I'm just impressed and proud that Nora knew the significance of December 7th. Maybe there is hope for the youth of this country that I haven't seen.