Remembering September

Song of the Day:  Give to Live by Sammy Hagar

This weekend marks a significant anniversary. For me, it’s both poignant and joyful.

Ten years ago on September 11th, the world as we knew it ceased to exist. Our very livelihoods changed. Not just for Americans, but around the globe. The horrific attack on innocent people on US soil is beyond hard to imagine. Even today, I have a hard time dealing with this tragedy. No, I knew no one who died that day. But I might as well have. Like many, the events of that day burned into my soul. I won’t watch the specials planned to commemorate the event. I can’t. It’s all still too raw for me. I replay the suffering in my head. How people would have felt, what thoughts rampaged through their minds as they knew they were about to die. The fear of those on the doomed planes, the panic of those trapped in the burning, crumbling buildings. The little girl on that plane clutching to her mother . . . I can’t go there. I have to shut it down. Otherwise I might spiral into a deep, dark place I struggle so hard to stay away from.

But I have a reason to rejoice that awful time. You see, as I watched the horror unfold on TV, my mother had called repeatedly to order me to stop watching. The stress would send me into labor. Yup, I was pregnant. Nope, I didn’t turn off the tube. History was unfolding, after all. And yup, you guessed it, my water did break in the early morning hours.

So how does a woman go into labor less than a day after the world halts to a standstill? Comically, it would seem. I calmly made all appropriate phone calls, showered, and shaved my legs (Lord knows I didn’t want to cause bodily harm to the delivering physician with my cactus limbs). My husband wasn’t quite as calm, not surprisingly, as the hospital was nearly an hour away and I was taking my sweet-ass time.

The drive there was incredibly eerie. No cars at all. Folks, I live in Houston. At any given hour on any given freeway, there is traffic congestion.  It was like a post apocalypse city eerie. Yet we still stopped to pay toll – twice! Never mind the contractions were becoming more painful. We made it to the hospital only to find it closed. CLOSED! Hubby and I walked (or waddled, in my case) the perimeter of the place until we found an open door near the ER.

The rest was smooth sailing, as smooth as delivering a cantaloupe through a crazy straw. Well, except for the IV incident that had me peppering f-bombs to all within earshot. But I won’t bore you with those details.

When my daughter arrived, I held her close as the news reported the September 11th aftermath. I was so overwhelmed with crazy, confused joy and grief. What kind of world would she face? Funny thing. My youngest will be two this Friday. Both my daughters’ birthdays straddle this day of infamy.

I guess it’s a good thing to have such strong emotions. They carry over into my writing. But this post isn’t about writing.

I know you will observe this ten year anniversary in your own ways. I know you will reflect on the lives lost, the families affected, the first responders, and our military. But also, offer a smile to a stranger and embrace the beauty of the world that surrounds you. And please, I ask you take a moment to hug the ones you love, hug them close.



14 Responses to Remembering September

  1. William says:

    Jenn, a wonderful example showing no matter how bleak things may seem at the moment, there are also rays of sunshine. Having met the end result of that particular day, all I can say is “You did good”…:)


    • jbrayweber says:

      Aw, thanks, Will. What you said reminds me of the images of a single, vibrant flower rising through the fore ravaged terrain. Maybe it’s because of the wildfires cropping up all around us here in Texas. But the image is the same. There is hope and life after death and destruction.

      And I am very proud of both my girls.


  2. Ruth says:

    Oh Jenn, new beginnings are the best medicine for tragedy and your daughter is so cute. I know exactly what I was doing on 9-11 – That is my birthday and I was feeling rather good, until I looked at the television and saw the second plane hit the towers. And for the next five years I refused to have any celebration my birthday. I can’t imagine how the families endured that day, but then in this country we are fortunate that this type of action is relatively rare, but in many countries it is a common occurrence, and they bury their dead like we did, and they have new beginnings, like we do, and they go on, like we do. The only way we can fight against this type of terror is with courage. The courage to go on, to create new beginnings, to laugh, to love, to cry, to have joy and sadness, to live –and not let fear be a driving force in our lives. So on this anniversary of 9-11 we should mourn the loss of so many, but celebrate all the new beginnings that came from the ashes of death. And like the Phoenix rising, so too will the people of this country. We rise to stand for courage, life and liberty. And to honor those who died on that tragic day by living and bringing new beginnings.


    • jbrayweber says:

      Well said, Ruth. Well said. Americans are a Phoenix rising. And we will never forget. But we will endure with courage and love in our hearts.
      Happy birthday, my friend.


  3. jeff7salter says:

    It was a very somber day for me, too. Plus, I was trying to help calm people around me at work. I made arrangements to rotate people off the public service floors so they could come upstairs (to Admin) and watch a few mins. of the TV reports …so they’d know what was going on. Rumors were going crazy.
    That afternoon, the President landed in our LA city — where Barksdale AFB and SAC HQ was at that time. He spent a day or more just about 4 miles from my house. We weren’t told about that until later, though.
    The thing I still remember was: I was not surprised. Oh, of course, I was shocked like everybody and the particular means of the attack — and the scope! 3000 lives!. But I had been expecting an attack on our homeland since right before 12-31-99. I’d been reading about terrorists planning to take advantage of the millenium computer glitches to attack us. Several of those attacks were sniffed out and foiled and most everybody relaxed. But I kept feeling like it was still “on the way”. Indeed, it was. Though not in any manner I could have imagined.


    • jbrayweber says:

      Sadly, Jeff, I don’t believe the attempts to attack this country will end, and the likelihood that it will happen again is very real. Living in Houston where oil is king and our port is a massive worldwide hub, you bet I fear an attack closer to home. But I don’t FEAR. I want to live my and be able to say, yeah, I did that, or yeah, I have no regrets. We all should.


  4. As always in times of terrible tragedy, your daughters represent the bookends of love, life and continued hope.


    • jbrayweber says:

      That is an excellent way to put things into perspective. Not just for me, but for everyone. Look to those you love, for together you can overcome tragedy.


  5. Thank you, Jenn. A very moving experience. I’m glad to read about someone coming away from this disaster with something positive.


  6. john roundtree says:

    Love that heart of yours. A wonderful expression of love and hope.


  7. You expressed exactly how I’ve been feeling. I didn’t want to be seen as unpatriotic, but I don’t want to relive this. That day was horrifying and I remember being glued to the television. I feel so bad for those families, the children and the ones who gave their lives. I want to honor their memories, but I can’t watch the footage from that day. May those people rest in peace and on Sunday, I will say a prayer for the victims and their families and keep my television off.

    Your daughters are a blessing and may they have a wonderful birthday filled with joy.


    • jbrayweber says:

      Thanks, Sylvia. It is good to know that I’m not alone in my refusal to watch the specials. But the day won’t go unhonored. It all will be on my mind, even as we celebrate my little stinkers’ birthdays.


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