a line from the September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows Blog
We are connected by that suffering. I didn’t know Cat’s aunt, or Loretta’s husband, or Andrea’s husband, or David’s brother, or Derril’s daughter, or Kristina?s sister. But I now know Cat, Loretta, Andrea, David and Derril. What we have shared has been beautiful and special, a terrible beauty. I don?t know the families that are in anguish and grief, both in this country and in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a result of the current wars, but I pull this stone because their losses are no less significant or tragic than the losses we have experienced. Too many people have died.
It is a terrible beauty to be connected by grief. I have spent the last hour reading their about the Peaceful Tomorrows “Stonewalk” from Boston to DC. If I had the money, I’d definitely like to walk for a day. It would be hard work pushing the stone, but I bet it would be cathartic.
My terrible connective beauty to 9/11 does not involve the death of any of my family members. Yet it is very interesting in regards to spatially connectivity.
I was in DC, my sister Serena was in NYC, and my other sister Noel was in The Hague. Serena was on a business trip in NYC and on September 10th her secretary called her asking if you would like to take flight 93 to get back to San Francisco earlier in the day. She opted for the later flight out of Kennedy. On September 10th, I flew home from Saint Louis after spending a weekend with girlfriend. I still have the Saint Louis Metrolink ticket stub.
After safely flying home into DCA, I went to class, and then in the evening at 7pm I took a nap. I had a beautifully terrible dream that I still remember to this day. I was on top of a building and there were two planes “dancing” in the sky. They were doing circles that no airplane could not possibly do, and one started to come toward me on the rooftop. I ran toward the edge of the building and jumped. I fell through the air flailing my arms and right as I hit the ground, I was transplanted to the exact same spot on the rooftop I had just been. (I remembered it was like a “game over” video game sequence where your car falls off the road and your new car instantly appears at the center of the road) This time I turned around and ran down the stairs toward the basement. As I rounded the first flight of stairs a plane crashed into stairwell, but instead of explosions, it just poked its nose into the stairwell. The nose turned out to be a turret of a gattling gun. I ran down the stairs and as the gun began to fire- the phone rang. It was 10:42pm, my girlfriend was calling to see how I was. I told her about the dream.
The next morning I woke unbelievably early at 9am and turned on the TV to CNN. I called my Mom & my girlfriend and stayed glued to the television. There was a report of a car bomb at the State Department. It turned out to be a hoax. I went to the top of the stairs of my dorm and looked out the window and could see the Pentagon burning off in the distance. At 1pm I left the confines of my dorm room and walked to the heart of the campus. The first person I ran into was my friend Solomain, who was originally born in Afghanistan. He had told me a story a year prior about how when he was 5 he had to put cotton in his ears to combat the sonic boom of fighter planes over his house. He also lost two of his uncles during the war. They are the nameless civilian casualties of war that the “stonewalkers” are telling others about as they drag the memorial everyday this month while en route to NYC.
Terrible beauty such is life that brings both joy and pain. Yet one must experience both to live fully.