The Hicks Sisters ca 1983
“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom ~
It had been a glorious, beautiful, brisk autumn day. I stood and breathed in a stunning panoramic view as I watched the sun lower into a captivating sunset. Faster than I realized, dusk took over, and then twilight swiftly took hold as I watched evening begin to dance alive in the streets below in Manhattan.
It was a wonderful magic show – partly Divinely created and partly man made. It was etched into my memory for the rest of my life.
I was standing in the observation deck of the World Trade Center.
Little did I know 18 years later the very spot I was standing on would topple to the ground in rubble and dust and become part of Ground Zero. My magical space would be destroyed by Islamic terrorists filled with hate, determined to destroy my country and thousands of innocent people.
I was a young lass on that magical day in 1983, the mother of a toddler, full of hope for a bright future. I look at pictures of my sister and me taken during that visit and I get chill bumps because I see us and I want to shout, “Look long and hard. Burn these memories into your mind because you will lose so much in the future!”
How could I ever imagine the terror that lay ahead for me personally and the terror that laid ahead for my country? How could I have ever imagined something like 9/11 happening in my country?
But, it did. And, it happened in a year that was one of personal turmoil for me. There were things that happened to me I never thought I would experience in my world – vows broken, trusts broken, violence committed. And, then in the midst of all that – September 11, 2001 happened.
I had just returned home the day before from a trip to Florida with a friend who had gone down to see her parents. On the trip I’d had a health crisis and spent time in the ER.
So, I was still feeling frail and in recovery mode on that September morning when I got a call that said, “Turn on your TV!”
As we speculated – was this an accident or an attack – the second plane plowed into the second Trade Tower. That pretty much settled it – we were under attack.
From that point on, I was glued in place in front of the TV just to watch the unfolding events. Since I had lived in New York for about a year, I knew how many people lived and worked in that area of the city and the numbers were massive. Small city-size massive. We could be looking at unbelievably high death tolls. I began to cry and pray.
Then, one of the most horrific things I’d ever seen in my life happened – one of the Towers began to crumble, to accordion down on itself. It was falling like a stick of hot butter in a microwave.
How could this be happening?!
I desperately wanted the other Tower to be saved – but in my heart I knew it more or less faced the same fate. And, it did. It fell, too, leaving a trail of cascading destruction and death.
And, then the aftermath began…mountains size heaps of debris, personal locators of first responders trilling constantly indicating a man down here…and here…and there…and over there…and here… It was a new level of hell.
It took this country a while to recover from 9/11 just like it took me a while to recover from the personal cataclysm going on in my life at the time.
But, recover I did. I did by beginning to move on. I married the man who should have always been my heart mate. I grew stronger inside and stronger mentally regardless of what my disabled body tried to tell me.
Every year when 9/11 comes around I remember. Some years are worse than others. This year was bad. My PTSD kicks in many years. Every year I have a man that stands by me with unyielding compassion and understanding.
I have a very growing concern that Americans are growing away from 9/11. They are forgetting 9/11 – the cause, effect and aftermath and how we were one Family after the attack.
Unlike the generation before who “Remembered Pearl Harbor!”, it’s deemed not very politically correct to “Remember 9/11” any more. Patriotism is almost view as “deplorable”. Some of our leaders like to play political footsies with the very people who financed the terrorism against us and are getting wealthy themselves from these relationships.
This is very unfortunate because history and the past are our teachers. If we forget our past, many times we are destined to repeat the past.
Corrie Ten Boom and her family were Gentile Dutch living in Nazi occupied Holland during WWII. The Ten Boom family saw what the Nazis were doing to the Jews in Holland and they made a decision to make a difference. They began hiding Jews in their home. Eventually the Ten Boom family was discovered and the Nazis rounded them up and sent them to concentration camps. Corrie lost family members in these camps.
After the war, Corrie understood the importance of putting the past into perspective. No, we don’t live in the past, but as Corrie said, “Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”
We must take the lessons of 9/11 and learn from them – for the sake of the future and so the death of the thousands lost that September day are not in vain.
© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.