My daughter came to me that night around 11:30. She trembled with fear and crying. I struggled up from a slumber that fought back in blissful ignorance, but a mother can't ignore her child, even if she is twenty-two years old.
I turned on the light. "What's wrong?"
Her unlikely reply made me sigh. "I'm afraid of terrorists."
"Whatever for?" I fell back against my pillow. "The odds of you coming in contact with one is so little."
"But I might," she said, her voice on the edge of hysteria. "What if they ask me if I'm a Christian? If I say yes, they might kill me. I've heard that some kill you if you say no."
I fought exasperation. Every evening, I struggle to get a good night's sleep. Once I've reached the edge that tips me into slumber, interruptions usually ruin the whole night for me.
"I don't think it's worth worrying about," I said, wondering what set her on this train of thought. I had experienced other nights with her like this, nights when a thought ripped into her soul, creating insecurities that multiplied. She sought me at these times, begging for solace. Sometimes, I got frustrated.
It took time, but she finally calmed down and went to bed to sleep in security and confidence.
The next morning, the planes hit the towers.
I waited in trepidation for her to wake up and discover her late night fears transformed into a new reality.
Yes, the account above really did happen on the eve of 9/11, and it rocks me to the core how my daughter's mind went there only hours before the tragedy occurred.
It's amazing to me, still, how much that one morning changed our outlook on life. But yesterday, as I watched the documentary on CBS, I realized we've forgotten. Sure travel became harder, but we grumble about it. For a short while, we turned to God, and churches experienced huge attendance. People extended kindness and looked out for each other. That's what tragedy does to us.
But today, I wonder, have we forgotten? Do we remember, ten years after 9/11, that our world is different? It's hard to maintain that heightened awareness at all times, I get that. Time numbs the pain. We need that to go on, to survive, but seeing those horrific images, again, this past weekend, in graphic detail, narrated by those who survived at Ground Zero, tears at my soul.
Do we really remember the way we should?