Saturday, September 11, 2010

Things I Remember and Things I Don't

I remember standing in my Granny's kitchen when I was a kid as she recalled exactly where she was and what she was doing when JFK was killed.

I don't remember how old I was.


Not over 10 I'm sure.

And I remember thinking how extraordinary it was that Granny had, in a sense, pinned a Post-It Note on her brain the day JFK was shot. It's as if she jotted down the date, time, what she was doing and the things she felt in that moment back in 1963, and then on that unknown day in 1980-something, she pulled out this figurative Post-It Note and read it to me.

I remember being amazed at how clear her recollection was. I remember wondering if I would ever have a similar experience--witnessing something so profound that time would stand still, and I would remember date, time, what I was doing and feeling.

I don't remember the moment the Challenger exploded. My kindergarten class didn't watch the launch on TV that morning.

I do remember when the Gulf War started. I remember thinking that Wars were only something to be read about in history books, certainly not something to be experienced in my lifetime.

I had a pen-pal--a woman soldier. I don't remember her name, but we sent a lot of letters to each other.

I don't remember where I was or what I was doing as the Colombine tragedy unfolded.

I do remember the OJ chase. My family and I were in Atalanta for a Braves game, and I remember watching that white Bronco on TV in our hotel room.

I don't remember the moment I learned of Princess Diana's death. I was a senior in High School, and I remember being very sad.

I do remember 9/11.

I remember the entire day.

It was a Tuesday.

All my roommates and I were getting ready for class. My roommate, Jessica, always watched the news in the morning (she watched the news all the time!) She was in her room and started screaming for us to come look! She was screaming that a plan hit the World Trade Center.

I was shocked! What a horrible accident. Those poor people.

But, I had class. I had to get dressed and out the door.

I next remember sitting in the floor in my room putting on my shoes, and Jessica starts screaming again. This time much more panicked. She kept repeating, "I saw it! I saw it! Another plan hit! I saw it!"

I knew something was very wrong, but that was New York. I was in Clemson, and I had to get to class.

I remember it being odd that my professor didn't say anything about what was happening.

I remember after class walking through the Horseshoe and stopping to talk to someone. I don't remember her name, but she told me that a plane had hit the Pentagon. I remember saying to her, "Who do they think they're messing with?" This is the United States of America, for God's sake.

I remember my mom calling. It was a brief conversation. She basically told me to get to a gas station and fill up my car and be ready to come home at a moments notice.

I remember being glued to the TV. I couldn't turn it off. I felt guilty even thinking about turning it off. I watched until my eyes literally throbbed--hour after hour after hour.

And that's how I spent the next several days. Every spare moment I had was spent watching New York.

That day will forever be "pinned" to my brain.

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