It seems appropriate that I am sitting here with a sore jaw, recovering from dental work, under clouds of smoke and ash that have drifted over my home from the many wildfires here in California.
On September 11, 2001, I was driving home from my graveyard shift at the VA Hospital in Prescott, Arizona. I heard on the radio that an airplane had crashed into one of the World Trade Towers in New York. Then, the second one. In shock and disbelief, I had to pull over to the side of the road. I cried. Then I called my children to hear their voices. I think I only got to talk to one but it set my mind at ease that they were all right.
I somehow managed to pull myself together and continue the long drive home through hills and forest. The radio broadcast the crash at the Pentagon. And United Flight 93. I told myself that this was on the east coast for now. That my children, who were out in California, were alright. But what if the attacks continued out this way?
With no tv and terrible internet, I could only pray.
I continued to check updates on the internet and radio. And I continued to cry as I thought about all the people whose lives ended that day. I cried for their families and friends. I also cried for the first responders. The rescue workers. For the way, we, as Americans, united in a common cause of kindness and support.
Every year on this date I shed more tears and say more prayers.
Today I also cry and pray for all my fellow Californians affected by the wildfires. For all the firefighters, first responders, and rescue workers. For all those on the front lines in the fight against coronavirus. This time we have not been entirely united in kindness and support. But I think we are getting there. As it all drags on, and new disasters take their toll in different areas, I hope we can again become collectively more compassionate, loving, and kind.