I was at a friend’s house with my oldest daughter, the only one I had at the time. We were watching her play and talking of inconsequential things when the news flash came on and a horrible image of a building on fire. Actually it looked like only half a building and there were emergency crews and smoke. It took a while for me to understands what was going on, but later I realized some idiot placed a bomb in a truck in front of the federal building in Oklahoma and killed innocent children.
I was driving down the road on my way home from somewhere I can’t remember now, when my phone rang and it was my mom in a panic. “There was a shooting at your cousin’s school in Colorado and I can’t get a hold of your aunt!” Later I found out my cousin was fine. By some divine intervention she wasn’t even at Columbine that day. But those few minutes were some of the worst of my life.
I was asleep. I can’t remember why I didn’t go to school that day. But, I was home with my grandma and she told me to wake up so we could watch the shuttle take off. I sat groggily in front of the TV, barely paying attention until there was an explosion. All I could think of was a news interview with Christa McAuliffe where her young daughter kept saying she didn’t want her mommy to go. I prayed that she was watching but knew the whole family had to be.
On September 11, 2001, I was home with my youngest at the time, daughter number three. My sister called frantic about a plane crashing somewhere up north. It was tragic but I didn’t understand why she was so u[set about it until I turned on the news. I sat in absolute shock and watched the images all day. By the time my husband got home from work I was nearly sick from crying but I wouldn’t let him turn it off. I tried to explain to my shildren what had happened and couldn’t answer all of their questions. The hardest one was “Why?” I really don’t know.
I vividly remember all of these and too many other tragic moments in American history. I remember that good, innocent people died right alongside the not so good or innocent. I remember that most of the time, these tragedies are brought on by fellow human beings, maybe not Americans, but humans just the same. And still I can’t answer the hardest question… Why?