I stutter and hesitate at the word "anniversary".
Even now I can't quite grasp what happened that day.
I used to know an Episcopalian priest in Fullerton. 1968, 1969. Father Vest at St. Andrew's on East Chapman near North Raymond. He was a good, kind, wise man. Did you know him? A former engineer. We would talk. An awful year, 1968. One day Father Vest said, "Some subjects, questions, they're just imponderable. They just are. It's impossible to think about them any more, any more deeply. Futile."
That was a learning. True. Sometimes you have to keep going. leave a question behind. You don't forget it. Maybe later you can understand. Maybe. Imponderable.
Adamantine, dense hatred. 9/11.
I've seen troubles in my time. We all have. None of it prepared me for that day at the Twin Towers. That strange, wicked morning and day and night and morning in Lower Manhattan that I watched on TV in Tustin.
In 1982, I stood one morning on the north edge of the North Tower for over an hour, a brisk clear fall morning, clear and looked down. People ate pretzels and drank cold Shaefer beer or Chock-Full-O-Nuts coffee, Nedick's hot dogs. Lets get a slice of pie. Get outa here. Keep it moving, mac. Aww, shaddup. Too tall, too high on that building. Put me in a trance.
I talked to Monica Maluy every day then, 2001. She lived 18 blocks north. West Village. She described gray dusty clouds of gunk that moved in walls hundreds of feet high, blind, too dark to see, rolling through neighborhoods.
Were you there, Al Herlands? Were you there in the city downtown that in the morning that rained hatred molten? Thousands of screaming police and fire department sirens. Zombies ash-caked white.
Were you there, Roger Naff, there for Boeing the morning the towers crashed down? Were you there, John Carlisle, ear drums raw when the towers exploded?
Mark Smitt? Julie Bomke? Paul Willis? Liz Ehinger? Steve Shepard? Steve Solberg? Did you look into the sun and shiver? Allen Crutcher? Clayton Best? Dennis Miller? Lancer airline stewardesses?
We won't forget.
We who watched from cities and mountain sides and prairies and villages and country where the wind blows hard, and inside hospital wards and outside working and in automobiles and weeping on ocean cliffs, and cooking meals and teaching and performing surgery and in business conferences and laboratories and tennis courts, in lover's beds and holding babies and strumming guitars. mowing lawns, riding waves, pouring cocktails, pitching horseshoes, galloping, sleeping, dreaming, screaming silent and kneeling, standing alone together and apart.
We shall never forget.
In the Midst of Life
World without end