15 Years Later – What To Say?

All of us Americans know what today is, and what it marked 15 years ago. Nothing I can say will add or detract from that event, or to peoples’ suffering all these years later. But perhaps my own weird, warped sense of ironic humour might bring someone a little comfort or relief. So here goes…

The most direct impact 9/11/2001 had on me was, that for the first time in my entire lifetime, there were no airliners flying overhead. I grew up, in two different houses, under the flightlines of O’Hare airport. Every day, dozens of passenger planes passed over my head. I never was annoyed by the noise, it was just the soundtrack of my life. I worked around it, lived around it, slept through it. Until 9/11/2016, when the skies were suddenly silent. So much so, that on that day and the next, my wife and I watched TV in our living room with the windows open – something we could never do with the omnipresent roar of airplanes going overhead.

So how am I marking the 15th anniversary? In a house in Ohio where, if it’s REALLY busy, we get buzzed by the LifeFlight helo a couple of times a month. That’s it. Otherwise, my skies are empty, and silence is the norm. Quite a change.

And just so you know, if I sound odd (odder than usual?) in the next few days, tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. We “celebrated” our 9th anniversary on 9/12/2001. And a few years ago, I learned of the death of my mother on September 13th. Yep – 9/11, 9/12, and 9/13. Helluva week, ain’t it?

Oh, just one other note. Remember, when you think of the numbers 9 and 11, please add the number 343. Three hundred and forty-three firefighters went into the twin towers, never to return. May all those lost that day find eternal peace, especially the 343 of the FDNY. For you firefighter families, ring the bell 5 times, then repeat thrice over. Code 5-5-5-5. And know your loss is remembered by those outside the firefighting community, as well.

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