These were the first words Sam said to me when I answered the phone the morning of September 11th, ten years ago. She had gotten to work early that day and quickly heard the news from the East Coast. I remember being skeptical. "What do you mean they're gone? That doesn't make sense." Through sobs, she insisted it was true.
I ran to turn on the TV and spent the next several hours trying to comprehend what had happened (how many lives were lost? I remember calculating there were probably 10,000 dead - miraculously it was much less), what was happening (are there going to be more? how many more hijacked planes are up there?), and what would happen (this kind of thing doesn't go unanswered).
I didn't know anyone that died that day. Personally I was fairly removed from the event, though I had some connections to people that were near (a grade school friend's brother narrowly escaped from the south tower). NYC & DC, 3000 miles away, suddenly felt like they were next door.
Tonight there was a religious channel re-running the memorial service that took place three days later in the National Cathedral. I remember watching it at the time and being very emotional, the rawness of the event having hardly diminished, fighting back tears as the Battle Hymn of the Republic played on the organ to conclude the service.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
While God is marching on
Glory, glory, hallelujah!