Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

Today is the anniversary of 9/11.  I have my yearly migraine.  I always seem to get a migraine on this anniversary.  It’s my body’s way of handling emotions that it just can’t seem to process.  Intense emotions that I would rather work through with physical pain of a headache.  I realize it’s not the right way, but it’s my way.

We will never forget the victims of 9/11.

I just wish there was a way that I could remember the victims, but forget the day.  God, I would love to forget that day, what I witnessed and how I felt.  I know those two things don’t go hand-in-hand.

Everyone knows where they were the day we were attacked.  It’s the same way our parents know where they were the day JFK was shot.  I was on the 12th floor of my apartment building in Arlington, VA.  I was watching the Today Show as they announced a plane hit the World Trade Center.  Something told me I should go to my balcony.

I loved my balcony on the 12th floor of my apartment building.  If you stood on the far corner and leaned over the railing, you could see the Capitol Building.  There was a tree line and over the tree line I knew the Pentagon was there.  My apartment was high enough up that I could see the airplanes coming and going from Reagan National Airport all the time.  I spent many days and nights sitting on that balcony, solving the world’s problems with my friends and enjoying the scenery.

That morning I raced out to look over the city that I loved so much.  Something told me that I needed to be on that balcony.

A large ball of smoke was rising up in the air.  The plane had just hit the Pentagon.  I witnessed it seconds after it had just happened.   I just saw the ends of precious life, the horror of terrorism and a moment in history symbolized by a cloud of smoke and flames.

As time passes every year the exact details of the rest of the day are blurry.  I, like everyone else in DC at the time, searched for friends, reassured loved ones from home and prayed.  I spent a lot of time on my balcony that day and the following day.  The skies were quiet, all except for fighter planes and helicopters.  The city was different and I was different almost instantly.

That night I somehow found my way to the Lincoln Memorial.  I don’t remember what made me go down there.  It was eerily quiet except for a few hundred people who had also gathered down at the monument searching for comfort, peace and explanations.

When I got to the monument that I cherished,in a city that I loved so much, I physically became ill.  I threw up.

I shared stories with strangers of that horrifying day.  I hugged people I didn’t even know.

I taped a flag in my window of my apartment so I just didn’t feel so hopeless and helpless.  Truth was I felt both that day.  The flag did little to help those emotions.

We will never forget.  We were the lucky ones who survived that day.  For those who didn’t, we will never forget you.  Those who continue to serve and keep our borders safe from terrorists and those who protect our airports and harbors, God Bless You.


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