My September 11 occured early in the summer of 1991. I was 16 and involved in a community theatre production of "Working" (a socialist folk musical.) Performing was my top priority. It was the thing I loved. Three nights a week I would go to Plainville Connecticut to rehearse and I selfishly loved these nights as I would not have to choose between my girlfriend or my tight-knit group of three friends. These were my nights and the only valid excuse for getting out of plans with the others.
I drove home that night with the anxiety that once home I would have phone messages from the girlfriend and the friends. I would have to choose between watching sitcoms in the GF's bedroom or going nighttime biking. Already the biking had won out in my mind.
I got a call from my cousin:
"Klutch, there's been an accident."
"What happened?" I asked.
My best friend Tom had been in an accident with his mountain bike and was rushed to the hospital.
Now, we were kids and we pushed the limits. Steve had had his eardrums punctured and his nose ripped half off his face playing football at the park. I was always the cautious one, and did my best to stay away from the "danger." But we were kids and we had accidents.
My cousin had another call on his "total-phone" so he clicked over. When he came back he said only two words:
This was perhaps the first moment in my life that I felt "terror."
Terror that I had lost my best friend. One of only three or four friends that I had.
Terror that any of us could lose their life at any moment.
Terror that my cousin with terrible learning disabilities had to witness this horrific accident.
A life lost, cut short, unexpectedly, with a whole slew of other cliches I won't mention.
You see, the state of Connecticut was negligent. They had not lit their property and they had not marked the construction site where Tom rode his mountain bike 30 miles per hour into a concrete wall. Tom didn't just die, he was taken from us.
I am sure there are many of you who have similar stories to mine. The loss of a friend, a brother or sister, a loved one. I am sure there was shock. I am sure there was terror.
And I bet that to you, they were Heroes.
Tom was and is my hero. I don't know the names of the lifestar pilots or the doctor who took in Tom's body at the ER. But to me, they are heroes as well.
When I think back about September 11th, THE September 11th, I am disturbed that I feel no sense of loss. I feel no more Patriotic than I did the day before. I respect those who died doing their jobs. I feel for those who lost family and friends. But I do not feel that the lives lost that day were any more important than Tom's. No more important than your Grandmother's or Father's.