Sometimes at 9:11

Sometimes I see them on the car radio and sometimes on my microwave. They show up on my cellphone, on my computer, on the TV, at the grocery store, and on the bank’s fancy 1980’s-style digital readerboard.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone else sees them the way I do.

9:11 AM
9:11 PM

Three numbers twice a day that I usually miss, but, for 11 years, when I do see them, they’re my trigger. My reminder to Remember. A pause button in my brain.

Sometimes at 9:11 I pray for the victims’ families. For their kids. For their parents. For their brothers and sisters and friends.

Sometimes at 9:11 I pray for the terrorists and their families. For their anger. For their grief. For my own lack of understanding and compassion and forgiveness.

Sometimes at 9:11 I pray for the people around our globe who live and die by the whims of circumstance or cruel intentions or accidents that will never make sense.

Sometimes at 9:11 I stay silent because I hate prayer, sure it’s stupid and pointless.

And sometimes at 9:11 I’m silent because silence is the best, most reverent prayer I know, and prayer is all that’s left.

Sometimes at 9:11 I gasp for the love of my kids. And then I track one down to kiss and hug while he pushes me away hollering, “EW! Not now, Mom” and “You’re going to make me lose at SmashBros.”

My kids have suffered a lot of kisses at the hands of 9/11 and the ticking of the clock. It’s strange to think about the unbidden gifts tragedy leaves in its wake. The way our collective story binds us and bonds us. The ways it grieves us and makes us grateful. The ways it turns our laughter louder and our love deeper.


Thank you for sharing your 9/11 stories with me today.


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8 responses to “Sometimes at 9:11”

  1. Anytime I hear or see “9ll” (call in an emergency) I think about that fateful day. We as Americans were comfortable and going about our day as usual. No one thought the security of our country would ever be compromised. It made us all realize we are here today but tomorrow isn’t promised to us.

  2. My baby was only 5 days old on 9/11 and that day I lost a friend and someone who was in the trenches with me in grad school who was on flight 175 with her husband and 2 year old daughter. Thank you for “My kids have suffered a lot of kisses at the hands of 9/11”. It is one of the truest things I know, and certainly an unbidden gift.

  3. I think the best thing that came out of 9:11 for me was appreciating what I have. Knowing the luxury of my quiet life truly is a luxury as so many people in the world don’t have basic shelter and safety.

    Hugging is always good. There should be more hugging, especially at 9:11.

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