This is a reprint of an article first published on September 11th, 2006, in response to our editorial board’s request for 911 remembrance articles on the fifth anniversary.
The first plane had already hit when I turned the television on in the bedroom. We were still sleepy-headed in California and made the coffee as usual. I was nervous about our appointment.
I remember being angry at the television people for couching their language so carefully, rather than confirming the obvious for me. I already knew it was a terrorist act. Everyone knew.
Then the second plane hit. I began to feel numb inside, that sort of out-of-body feeling you get when your mind cannot process information quickly enough. I took a shower and dressed more hurriedly.
Back at the television they said a plane had hit the Pentagon. I retrieved the newspaper as a habit, not really intending to read it that day. Someone referenced Pearl Harbor on the news — a day that would live in infamy — the word FDR used to console our stricken nation 60 years ago.
My wife and I wondered about our appointment. She called to confirm that they were staying open. The newsman said a plane had crashed somewhere in Pennsylvania.
By the time we left, the towers had both collapsed. They said that 20,000 people would die. I said a quiet prayer. We fed the cat and turned off the lights.
At the doctor’s office, the air was unpalatable with concern. Yet everyone was doing their job. The phones were ringing. Appointments were booked. The waiting room was full. People whispered about the news with concerned voices. Perhaps they shared the same numbness that I felt inside. Humans always reach out to one another for consolation. That is how we survive the bad days.
The morning of 911, my wife was artificially inseminated by a miracle procedure.
Sometimes I wonder if Hindus are right about the soul. I imagined the soul of a 911 victim entering our embryonic baby that day. I can’t know how God works His mysteries, but this thought helped reconcile the shock of that day.
We welcomed our 911 miracle baby with profound joy after waiting for so long. It seemed that God had smiled upon us while others grieved. We began to prepare for the new life in our home. We told everyone about our good luck.
Our baby miscarried 3-months later, our personal touch of loss and grief from 911.
Lives ended on 911 and we grieved as a nation. Each day, lives are lost which we grieve for as individuals and families. 911 was no different in this respect than any other day.