Haunted (trigger warning)

Serious thoughts…

I have been mesmerized by the footage left online from 9/11 lately. It started with the anniversary of the event earlier this month and I still can’t stop analyzing it as of today.

That day in September of 2001 I was a senior in high school sitting in Honors English and when they announced it on the speaker for the whole school I instantly knew who likely did it. Journalists for major news sources had been warning of the possibility of terrorist attacks for over a year. People don’t talk about that very much now, but it’s true. And somehow I had it in my head that New York City was a prime target.

When I got home from school after they let us out for the day early I rolled my eyes when the news anchors on television kept thinking it was an accident. I was also deeply annoyed when they thought it was a commuter plane. That seemed very naive to me.

Lately environmental concerns have felt similar in scope… Either way, I’ve felt unsettled lately about the state of the world. And, I think something about the way there were people who sat in their extremely dark, Hellishly smoky offices before feeling themselves tumbling to Earth and then losing their lives is profoundly haunting to me at this particular moment in my life. Maybe having children makes you see things differently or maybe I feel more of a connection in some other way to those victims that day than I did as a very young adult.

Back then I was in shock but it felt like war. I felt defiant. 9/11 felt like the harbinger of battle and I felt prepared to tackle the situation with my youth. For a second I even considered enlisting in the military. I had political ambitions back then and I wondered if I should volunteer. But, then I realized quickly that I wasn’t cut out for military life…

However now, as I listen to the final phone calls and see the photos of the jumpers I…feel connected to their helplessness. I understand their fear in a different way. And I find profoundly mind-twisting puzzles in considering what became of them all after their passings.

Where did they go?

Did they vaporize and float through the air and that’s it except for the memories and love they left behind? Did they linger for a bit; their consciousness outside their mortal form standing confused by the quickness of their deaths? Are some of them still there pondering it all? Did they recognize their end and then find their way to Heaven? Have some of them come back? Do some of them still follow around their loved ones just waiting? Only God knows.

Either way, I keep feeling drawn to those final moments. I keep wondering how it all fits into the larger picture of things for all of us. And I know that whatever evil misunderstandings caused it all, it’s a day that however mysterious exists profoundly on a face-value level as well as in enigma. You don’t have to question whether or not it was real or a genuine tragedy. People fell from the sky and died. People were killed. Thousands…

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