Why is it that on days like today we remember the weather? Why is that? What is it about the weather that conjures for us the mood, the sense of surrealism, the — as J.K. Rowlings described someone in Harry Potter — the “look of eloquent despair”?
I remember the weather those six years ago. It was a typical September day. There was not, on my way out the door to the office, a sense of muggy heat. Warm, but not awful. A day much like today. Clear blue skies with a patch or two of clouds. It was pleasant, free of storm clouds — at least free of the physical, visible clouds of atmospheric storms. But the storm was coming and from the sky.
It was calm. So calm. The breeze had just a hint of fall.
The office was inconsequential that day. I had Department of Transportation depositions relating to the valuation of kaolin on an inconsequential piece of land made consequential solely based on the greed of the owner.
By the time I made it to the office, a small plane had somehow managed to hit one of the towers making up the World Trade Center in New York. It was an odd, freak accident. Except it was not.
Six years ago, for most of us, the odd, freak accident happening in New York as I was stepping off the elevator onto the 14th floor of the Fickling & Co. building into my office at Sell & Melton was no accident — it was the day the world changed violently. It was a meaningful, willful attack. It shook the nation. It’s impact still reverberates, rippling back and forth around the globe like the ripples of water in a wading pool when a brick is thrown forcefully in.
Some of us choose to remember it as it was and is. Some, a friend of mine and others, choose to see it as an anomaly to which we overreacted — an “unfortunate incident” I believe was the phrase used, in New York City, “It’s an overreaction to think it was an attack on the nation or our way of life,” the conversation went, still a bit bitter in my mouth thinking of it.
Six years ago today, we were all attacked. 1 mile, 50 miles, 900 miles, 2500 miles away from us, men, women, children, people we did not know, people we knew, were trapped, broken, burning, dying, crying, praying, lingering between this life and the next, wondering why them, wondering what next, wondering what of their families as their families wondered what of them.
We either choose to remember it as it was and was meant to be or we do not. I remember an attack on my country, my existence, and my way of life. And I remember a man, seemingly unsure of himself, reading a book to school children. Interrupted. A whisper in his ear and a look on his face. And he finished the book to the children instead of rushing off, upsetting them.
He got up. He left. He said a few choice four letter words. He prayed. And he went out willing to do what others might not have been willing to do. He decided not just to defend, but to prevent and pre-empt.
In all my disagreements — in all our disagreements with him and those he surrounds himself with, never would I reject him or repudiate him because he made the hard choice, the choice that tested time and patience, but he stayed patient, he endured. We endure as a result. Despite turmoil and opposition, he weathers the storm and I am glad God chose to drop him into office. Better men have broken under the strain he has endured. And I am thankful.