What I remember
I missed it all. I got my son and his friend to school but I had turned the radio off. I hid out in my classroom prepping madly before the five year olds came in for music class. When the kindergarten teacher collected her students, she quietly told me all the awful things that had happened. We knew that we were probably not in imminent danger -- classes went on, the electricity was working, there was no airport near us. But the world had changed. Every church in town had a prayer service that night. At Mass, I wanted to sing The Battle Hymn Of The Republic, but we got On Eagle's Wings instead, which made me angry. I wanted St. Michael The Archangel and was dissatisfied with the Paraclete.
The next morning the sky was empty and quiet. My 3 year old son told his preschool teacher, "The tower got an owie." A friend emailed that her cousin was missing from Cantor Fitzgerald, would everyone please pray for him. Some veterans from the Greatest Generation were visiting the school that morning, after speaking at the college up the hill. We found out that one of the veterans had lost his son and brand new daughter-in-law on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon. The young couple was flying off to their honeymoon. The college was arranging to drive the man home; we didn't see him. The choir performed "America The Beautiful" for the veterans. We had always planned to sing all four verses. It seemed slightly excessive the day before and absolutely necessary the day after. They sang it beautifully and reverently. I wanted it to go well, and it did.
We watched the Tribute To Heroes telethon a week later and I liked Billy Joel and Tom Petty the best. We watched The Who bring catharsis to all the surviving first responders at the The Concert For New York City. God Bless The U.S.A., God Bless America, and Imagine played in endless rotation. Samuel Barber's Adagio For Strings was . . . even sadder.
On September 11 I'll be singing, too, and I'll remember.