The Old Country

I don’t know why I’m writing this.  Wait a minute.  Yes I do.  I’m writing this because right now I can’t be anything more or less than I am.  I don’t feel like making something up, and pretending nothing happened.  This is not fiction.  Although I wish it was.

I am an American.  Usually I don’t like to bring that fact into a conversation.  I don’t know why.  But there it is.  I am an American.  And a New Yorker.  I am from New York.  I am an American.  I am a New Yorker.  That’s why I cannot, this time, make anything up.

I used to choose not to say the pledge in school.  This past week, I’ve said it twice.  In front of my television set.

I’m writing this because like every other American kid, I went to the World Trade Center on a school fieldtrip.  In the sixth grade.  And then again to show some tourists around, the only other time natives line up to see their own landmarks.  It was a must-see.  For tourists.  I am not a tourist.  We thought it would always be there.  It wasn’t like some bastard was goint to crash into it or anything.  Well.

I’m writing this because I love that skyline.  The best view in the entire world.  I’ve seen it how it’s meant to be hundreds of times.  And not just on a postcard.  The Towers weren’t just part of a beautiful view.  They were a livelihood for thousands of people.  People that can never go home again.  Times like this, I want to go home.

I’m writing this because I don’t know what else to do.

The streets are supposed to smell of pretzels and roasted almonds, not flesh.  Those people were supposed to go home.  Landed and had airport moments with their families, or gotten in their cars after another day at work.  But they can’t go home.

I’m writing this because everything else seems so small; like the view from a plan window 20 thousand feet in the air.


From my journal, written in the week that followed September 11th, 2001.


12 thoughts on “The Old Country

  1. Thank you, Lorna for posting this again today.

    I have struggled all week to decide how to mark the day. Not speaking, but ever thinking of the elephant in the American room of my soul. Trying to draw the line, to move forward unburdened by the grief of the day – without amassing further opressive guilt for trying not so much to forget the day – but for wishing to move forward without the raw pain of still fresh mourning.

    So much of the World has changed in the last 10 years. So much of our world has changed too, sweet child of mine. Yet, you remain the everlasting constant of all my joy and solace; all my love, my peace, my laughter…

    I love you, Lorna.

  2. Hi I am checking in from SITS… I taught my 2 1/2 old to say I pledge allegiance…. and recite with her many times during this month this post says a lot what I want to say… I participated in a flag ceremony where my son took part in it… I was a teacher in the greater Washington area I had a kid in my class who’s dad worked at the pentagon I remember talking mom during early dismissal to this day because I was horrified…

  3. Excellent post!

    I doubt that many were left without feeling some element of pain on 9/11 but those of us here in New York, well, it’s still like a dagger, permanently embedded in our hearts.

    Came to visit from FTLOB and this post immediately caught my eye; well done!

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