Has it really been five years? Seems like only months ago when the greatest single tragedy to hit this country happened.
I was at home when the first plane hit. My husband was on a concrete job in Dallas. When I heard the news, I turned on the TV. It was after the second tower was hit, before the Pentagon. By the time that plane had gone down in Pennsylvania, I was in the car, racing to Dallas to pick up my daughter because I was terrified an attack would happen here as well. Mostly I think I just wanted my family close by. I kept her out of school for two days before I finally took her back. When I got home from picking her up, I sat down at the computer and wrote a poem that ended up being published in the local paper, surrounded by names of dozens of businesses who had paid $10 each to have their name there.
It took me a long time to feel "safe" again. The lack of planes in the sky really shook me, as did the sound of planes once they were allowed back. I still feel for those who lost loved ones that day, for the children who lost their innocence. I've posted a copy of that poem below. No, it wasn't particularly good, but it was fueled by the emotion of the moment.
A moment forever frozen in time
In all of our hearts and all of our minds
As we watched with horror what a few evil men
Can do with hatred and evil intent.
So many emotions filled us that day
Stunned disbelief, anguish, anger, and pain.
Our minds as clouded as New York's city streets
We could only pray and tremble and weep.
We waited for news of loved ones so dear
And listened to stories of bravery and fear.
We cried with the mothers and fathers and wives
We grieve for the children who want to know why.
How can we answer their questions when we,
as adults never dreamed how evil mankind could be?
So we hold our own close, so glad they are safe
And ask God to surround them with angels each day.
Then we lift our heads high and stand firm and tall
As we proclaim to the world that our country won't fall.
We stand united, red, black, white and brown.
And say you can't keep America down.
We'll see these men punished for what they have done,
No stone left unturned till we've found every one.
We'll pray for our soldiers as they fight and they win,
Then we'll put it behind us and build once again.
But we'll never forget the ones who were lost
in airplanes and buildings, we've counted the cost.
We'll mourn and grieve the heroes once more,
and emerge even stronger than ever before.
God bless America, this land of the free
May you always reign righteous and always believe
In the Almighty God who holds us upright
And ever continue, for our freedom, to fight.
Pamela J. Payne
September 11, 2001