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Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001 : A Different Kind of Memory

I realize that today, most of this country is thinking about the terrible terrorist attack that happened 10 years ago. It was the kind of day that you remember exactly where you were, what you were doing and how you found out news that forever changed history. 

I have that kind of memory of when President John F. Kennedy died. Our school class was on a field trip to a museum in downtown Portland. It was a regular day and then suddenly, teachers were whispering, then teachers were crying and we were all left confused. What was happening? They wouldn't tell us. We were loaded back onto our buses and driven back to the school. They sent us all home, I guess so our mom's could tell us what happened. At home, we sat by the radio listening to Walter Cronkite for the rest of the day. I will never forget the sound of his voice coming over our radio for hours. It is forever etched in my memory. 

I also have a memory etched in my memory of September 11, 2001 that is probably different than most. My son, Alan, and I were living in my parents basement. Not by choice but by necessity. My husband was at home in Los Angeles, working during the week and flying up to Portland on weekends. I woke up early that morning and turned on the TV around 5 am. I watched as the first plane hit the World Trade Center. And then the second plane hit. It barely registered in my brain that morning because my focus was elsewhere. My son and I were up early to head to his chemotherapy appointment. Even as we were sitting in the hospital waiting area, all the TV's were showing the horror of the attack, it all seemed surreal. My reality was that my son was fighting for his health and life! Cancer was our biggest enemy that day and continued to be for the months that followed.

So, today I will pause and remember how life changed for this country 10 years ago, but my heart still remembers the stress, fear and sadness I felt while my son was fighting cancer. Today I am most thankful that 10 years later, our son is happy and healthy, and living life to its fullest level. Believe me, you have no idea how true that statement is!

Ten years cancer free!

To all of those who have lived the past 10 years without their fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters and loved ones, we are all thinking of you today and remembering your pain and loss. 

We will never forget!

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