She is loathed to tell people now. They all give her this sad look and she has to remind them that the terrorists could have picked their birthday, but they picked hers.
It's not the first birthday she's had that turned into something horrible. She was 15 and waiting at home with our mother for my father and me to arrive. He was coming home from work and I was driving home from a tutor I employed to help me pass my math class. It was then we’d have our celebration.
As I was driving in my parent's little white VW Rabbit I noticed the cars on the right hand lane stopping. Then I saw a guy from the right hand lane backing into my lane.
WTF? I was upon him, sliding into his blind spot with my little car. I swerved to miss him, taking my car into the median. Then I swerved back into my lane, just in time for my lights to hit a bundle lying in the road.
I knew what it was. It looked like every scare film ever shown to us in Driver’s Ed. The bundle was a human body and I couldn’t avoid it. I can still recall every sickening bump as first one, then another, then the third, then the last tire went up upon the body then down.
I was 18, this was 28 years ago. I still remember.
I remember trying to pull my car out of the way of riding over this person. It didn’t work and my efforts actually caused the car to drive over him diagonally.
I remember screaming as I went over the body and then gathering my wits enough to brake the car just before it crossed out of the median and into on coming traffic. I even remembered to put on the hazard lights.
I remember stepping out of the car seeing the body and seeing another car drive over him. A suburban caught him and dragged him for a few feet as if he were a sack of potatoes. I screamed.
Then the cars stopped, there had been three others besides me who drove over him, I was the first. And people ran to his aid trying to pick him up. My first aid training kicked in just enough to yell to them “don’t move him.” And surprisingly they listened.
I went to the only pay phone on the street, a topless bar, to call my parents.
The rest of the night was spent with the police, and with my family to comfort me.
Before the accident the man I drove over had been kicked out of the topless bar. He had been too high and too drunk for them to serve. He then walked across 3 lanes of traffic and into the door of a car in the far right lane traveling east, and had fallen into my lane.
The car that he had walked into was the one backing into my lane. Trying to keep cars from driving over him. But I, in my little white Rabbit, slipped past all that.
The victim died.
No charges were filed against anyone.
I went through a lot of counseling.
I was allowed to heal.
But I can still remember every painful detail. I can still put myself back to that day. It doesn’t take much and I long ago surrendered to the fact that it would always be so.
The wound is not raw. It was not raw seven years after the event. It had healed.
Twenty one years later, on the exact same day, two planes would hit the World Trade Center in New York City, one plane would hit the Pentagon and the last plane would go down in a field in Pennsylvania.
I know where I was when the phone rang and I was told to turn on the tv. I know what I said to my husband who was the person on the other end of the phone. I know how I felt when I saw the towers come down.
Many in Massachusetts knew someone on one of the planes and/or people working at the WTC complex. So did we.
The planner of this horrible day that left 3,000 dead and hundreds of thousands scared for life has roamed free. Even when he was cornered, we let him go – leading many in the world to wonder if his freedom and likeness weren’t been used for political gain.
The day itself has been taken from a time of solemn reflection it should have been. A day to look at, remember, and congratulate ourselves for living past and through – It is now a political display, a horrific orgy of death and destruction to scare us into submission. They say “to remind us of what happened,” as if we’d ever forget.
Instead of allowing us to heal and move on, the wound is picked open every year, and every day during elections. Today feels like a million pounds of ick on a stick, a day you curse the sun for even daring to shine. To continue down this path is sickness and madness.
We have not been allowed to heal.
We have not been allowed to move on.
We have not been allowed to be healthy.
And if we allow the same political party to continue to use 9-11 as a political tool and to win with, we never will.
28 years ago today there was a car accident
7 years ago today there was a terrorist attack
Just as I can never forget the events of that day 28 years ago, we will never forget the events 7 years ago. We don’t need the constant fear, the constant the opening of wounds that should be healed or close to healing by now.
We will always honor this day and hold it sacred.
But some day, this day, will once again hold celebrations of life. A time when those born on this day will not hide their birthday. There will be a time when the sun will not be cursed for shining.
For any other event, any other death isn’t seven years of mourning, or being stuck “in” the event, of being forced to stay in the event, considered enough and even unhealthy?
Wouldn’t those who died that day want us to move on and live?
crossposted at Dailykos