Friday, September 11, 2009

Never Forget

I kind of borrowed the title from Ahamos and Figgy, I hope they don't mind.

Do you remember where you were eight years ago today? I do.

I had taken my not quite 1 year old son (he turned 1 on the 18th) and all of the comforters in the house to the Laundromat to be washed. We only had an apartment sized washer and dryer at home and the comforters didn’t fit in them. When I walked in everyone was gathered beneath a TV hanging from the ceiling in the waiting area. Curious, I joined the 6 or 7 already there and asked the attendant what was going on. They were tuned into CNN and a skyscraper was in flames. It seemed they were playing an endless loop of a commercial airplane colliding with that skyscraper. The attendant explained that someone had flown a plane into the World Trade Centre. My first thought was; one of the major airlines was going to have to do a whole lot of pretty talking to get out of the hole that accident had just dug for them. Then, as we watched in horror, another plane hit the first skyscraper’s twin. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself that it was an accident, I knew in my heart of hearts, catastrophes like that didn’t happen twice in one day. But perhaps thats just hindsight talking.

As soon as I could, I called my husband. Being the world traveller that I am ( < -- a lie) I asked him where the World Trade Centre was. He told me New York and asked why. I told him why. He relayed the information to the rest of the crew he was working with that day. Insert appropriate exclamations of surprise, sufficient ooooh’s and ahhhhh’s.

For the remainder of the day, I tuned in to CNN and watched the truth unfold.

For those of you that have spent any amount of time around here, you know my husband is gainfully employed with the Canadian Armed Forces, for my newest readers, now you know too. At the time, my husband worked a 7am – 3pm shift. The base was approximately a 6 minute drive from our house. At around 4:15pm, I called the base. One of my husband’s superiors took a message. A few minutes later my husband returned my call.

When my husband joined the Military (along with two of his closest friends) it was a decision carefully weighed between us. My only stipulation was this: Non-Combatant. For my peace of mind, he agreed, all the while reminding me ours is a peace keeping country. Canada does not fight wars. We believed every word he said. Naive. So, he is an airplane mechanic.

My husband told me he didn’t know what time he would be home, the base was at it's highest security level and he had been armed. The base we were living on was the designated alternate runway for Toronto's Pearson International Airport and in light of the day's events, Pearson had refused anymore air traffic. My response through tears brought on by one of the most intense fears I have ever known was; “But we’re peacekeepers, we’ve never hurt anyone, we DON”T FIGHT! YOU PROMISED!” He had to go; there were other men and woman with families at home wondering why they were late.

If I remember correctly, he came home shortly before midnight. He was to be ready at a moments notice.

I was watching President Bush address the world. I was enamoured with the man who called the world to arms against terrorism. Heh.

My husband has completed 4 tours in the Middle East in support of the War On Terror. During each of those tours there was a ban on all media in the Sprite home. I did not want to know how many soldiers were being sent home draped in a Canadian flag. My mother would, unfailingly, call each and every time another soldier was killed to ask how long it had been since I last heard from my husband. Communication blackouts on the base overseas drove me very near to the edge. Once, I just happened to be looking out the front door when an MP's cruiser pulled into my driveway. My hands and feet went cold, every bit of moisture in my mouth dried, my heart jumped into my throat and imitated a jackhammer, sound took on a fishbowl quality. He was simply using my driveway to turn around. Relief unhinged my knees. And so I sat until I could stand again.

I dried the tears of my children many times because they feared for their Dad, because they missed him. How do you explain war to a child? One you aren't sure your country has any business fighting?

We have a friend, one of the ones that joined the same day as my husband, he joined Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. The first battalion that deployed from Canada. The very battalion that was a part of the friendly fire incident. He's not the man he once was.

My cousin; sent home with an injury after the tank he was in ran over a roadside bomb.

I can only imagine the grief 9/11 has caused the families of the victims. Of the plane crashes and of the subsequent war. I know the heartache it has caused in my world and it has only touched us in a branching sort of way. I don't know if memorializing 9/11 has any great effect. For my part, it was a day I shed a measure of innocence for a maturity I may have been better off without.

The pebble was dropped in an American pond, but the waves have touched the world and the world has changed in their wake.


  1. Ohh god, Eyvi, I shivered just reading about the MP's cruiser turning around in your driveway. While I don't envy you that kind of worry, I have to say that your husband is a brave man and you are a brave chickie, and I really admire that!

  2. Not that I don't hang off most of what you choose to share with us ... but that was the single most beautiful and poingnant thing you have written (in my opinion ... to which you are entitled).

    I am one of the lucky souls that get to know you 'in real life' and for that I am grateful. Knowing you as I do and reading this - really for the second time (as you told me this once before) makes this unspeakable act so much more personal.

    I thought about writing along this subject yesterday - the date was on my mind from the moment I opened my eyes. I remember moment for moment where I was and what I was doing ... but my fear and the death of my global innocence doesn't hold a candle to so many others - you included.

    Love the pebble analogy. Excellent post. Thank you.

  3. omg! your hubby has been in FOUR tours?!

    he is my hero!!!

  4. I don't believe I have ever read a better, more poignant and moving account of what life is like for those whose lives have been forever changed by 9/11. When I read the line "...we don't fight, you promised!" I just burst into tears. You both have my deepest admiration, respect and love. God be with both of you and may this war end soon.

  5. One of the girls on my ball team had a cousin in Afghanistan. We were between games at a tournament when he showed up, fresh off the plane. Watching the two of them hug, crying, will forever be etched in my mind, and still makes me teary when I think about it. I can barely imagine the terror and anxiety you've endured, but to you - and your husband - I say this: