September 11

Written By Jenny Pavlovic
On this day in 2011
My dog brought me his rubber chicken
Before I even got out of bed
Because he knew I was sad.

On this day in 2001, I packed for a flight to Washington, DC.
My co-workers prepared to leave for the airport, when someone called us
to the TV,
showing a plane crashing into a skyscraper, unfurling clouds of dark gray smoke.
Over and over, over and over and over we watched that plane strike the World Trade Center.
We wondered, what in the world?
Then another plane struck, and both towers went down in a monstrous cloud of dust.
On it went.
A plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC
And we prayed for our co-worker who was already there. We prayed for everyone there.
What on earth was going on?
A plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
Later we learned of brave passengers, who heard over their cell phones of the attacks and said, “no more!” Saying goodbye to their loved ones, they faced the attackers and drove the plane into that field.
Heroes they were.
There would be no more flights that day.
All were grounded.
That night the skies were empty. My dogs and I walked under a clear, star-filled sky and wondered at the quiet, the emptiness.
For surely many new souls had entered heaven that day.
People from the planes
People from the buildings
People from the neighborhood
People and dogs from the rescue crews
Surely heaven was busy that night.
And yet the sky was so quiet. And empty, except for the stars.
New stars lit the night.
Soon fighter jets circled overhead, even here in Minnesota.
And though I had wondered at the peacefulness of the sky, following the violence of the day
And realized, even then, I would never again see the sky this empty and the stars so wondrous.
Once I knew they were ours, I was thankful for the fighter jets watching over. I was thankful to be an American.
I was thankful for the rescue workers, dogs and people, who tirelessly searched in the face of such wreckage, such overwhelming sorrow
Allowing the possibility of hope.
I was thankful for each being who gave hope to another, through a courageous act, a hug, or just a simple word of kindness.
For we all felt so fragile even as we were gathering our strength.
I wondered how this tragedy could happen in our great country—or anywhere.
How does hate go that far?
I wondered at the depth of loss and destruction.
I stood up for Marwane, a man at work. For although some hated him for his name and I had felt his disrespect for me as a woman
I knew he was not a terrorist.
I learned of children born on 9-11-01, of love that was born too, borne on the winds of destruction.
I saw how tragedy brought out the best in people, how love brought us together and slowly built us up again, how love inspired us to help one another.
And I tried to focus on love.
I tried not to hate.
Because hate killed all those people.
Hate killed all those people, and some dogs who went to help.
And somehow the hate has to end.
Somehow the hate has to end.
On this day in 2011, my dog brought me his rubber chicken before I even got out of bed, because he knew I was sad.
Because I have not forgotten.
So through my tears I played with my dog (not yet born in 2001) and his rubber chicken. Through my tears, I played with Bandit and that rubber chicken, and I smiled.
My dog’s simple act of love and compassion showed me how to go forth. My dog showed me how to go forth with love, not hate.
And I vowed to go forth with love.
Through my tears, I vowed to go forth with love.

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