Monday, September 12, 2011

9-11-01 and 9-12-11

On September 11, 2001, I was teaching fifth grade in my hometown of Madison, Alabama.  I remember the teacher next door came over in the morning and told me that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center.  Over the course of the day, we came to hear more through the internet.  The fifth grade teachers met and chose not to tell the children.  We wanted them to be able to go home and hear the news from their parents instead.  And of course, it was still unfolding into the afternoon.  It was such a confusing and frightening day. 

Like many other runners, I found my solace in my afternoon run.  I had no husband or children at the time to go home to; it was just me and my little apartment.  I remember listening to my local radio station as I ran, trying to sort things out in my mind.  I heard a song that had been mixed together with some people talking about what had happened that day.  I can't remember the song, but I remember that someone in the song said, "There are children going to sleep without their parents tonight."  I remember thinking about that and about the footage I had seen of people who were jumping out of the twin towers in utter desperation.  I just lost it, and I was crying behind my sunglasses for the rest of my run.  I couldn't begin to imagine the pain that so many endured that day and the loss that some would feel for a long, long time.

In a gesture that seems so piddly, I dressed in red, white, and blue at school on Friday and had the children in their patriotic best on Friday at school and Sunday at church.  I hung a flag outside.  I was surprised not to see more people doing the same.  I don't ever want the sacrifices that were made that day to ever be forgotten.  My running friends and I had a great conversation about the bravery of the 9-11 firefighters on our run today.  It's conversations like that one that will keep the memories alive.  I was even able to share a simplified version of the events with my five year old.  As I talked, I wondered if he felt sadness, appreciation, patriotism, or what?    


Today is September 12, 2011.  I face a very different issue today (one that seems rather pale in comparison...but still).  I've been on this page a couple of times today.  I have a 3:18:05 BQ this year.  I am able to register today for the Boston Marathon along with others who have a time 20 minutes or greater than their qualifying time (my qualifying time is a 3:40 this year).  What a rare opportunity!  But I am waiting until my husband can register on September 19, so we can see if we can both get in.  It would not be the same experience without him, nor can we afford two trips up there (I contemplated running it last year since Rick didn't have a BQ yet and I thought that might be my only opportunity.  Then I didn't get in since registration filled so quickly.  Do you think things like that happen for a reason?).  I know that waiting--and hoping we can both get in-- is the right thing to do.  I just somehow feel like I'm wasting an opportunity.  It's one of those days when I wish I had a crystal ball to see into the future to help me decide what to do.  I like this post by Dorothy about how you can never take a BQ away from someone.  I know I will always have the BQ, no matter if I get to run the race or not.

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