The week has been full of television shows revisiting the events of 7 years ago, the destiny of the passengers of four ill-fated aircraft and those doing business in southern Manhattan and Washington, DC; about the fall out which led the country to failed international policies and turned a globe full of good will toward America into a globe full of distrust and distance; about the individual heroes who wrestled a plane out the hands of terrorists and into the ground in Pennsylvania; about the sleeper cells in the city of Hamburg, Germany, where I lived at the time, and about the changed perception that safety is simply an illusion which can be taken away at any place, at any time.
But my thoughts move away from the events of 2001 and move towards the events of September 11, 1949. It was the day my parents married.
My sister and I driving and ferrying to Copenhagen from Hamburg when the planes hit the towers. As we checked in at the Phoenix hotel we could not help but notice a somber mood, but did not know yet about what had transpired. My cell rang, and a friend from Hamburg told us what had occured, through gasps and sobs. We turned on the the television, and saw the first set of replays of the second plane hitting. I screamed. My sister sat there, paralyzed, for the first time experiencing the awful sensation of being very far away from home when some horrible event has taken place in the world.
I immediately got on the phone and tried to call our parents. My biggest worry? That on their anniversary, number 52, that this news might impact adversely on my father's already frail health. They assured me on the phone that they were fine, and would be ok. My parents come from a generation when getting through things like this were simply part of life.
In the years that followed, especially the first one, the drama and emotion and horror of that day overshadowed my parents' anniversary. It pained me, and still does, that something was robbed from them in this way, somehow the freedom to be completely joyous on September 11th. I know the day is much bigger and all encompassing, and is not just about an elderly woman and her now deceased husband. But the fact is that they were two people who really did love each other very much and September 11th was always important to them.
So I know today that my mother is probably at the cemetery, celebrating her anniversary in the way she feels most able to.
The picture above is the last picture taken of my parents together, in October of 2004. I was home visiting and had just bought my Nikon D70 to do the photos for the b&b website. I snapped this one to get a feel for the camera. I am so very happy that I did.
Happy anniversary mom and dad. It is still your day.