Bittersweet Birthday……

Date Submitted: 08/12/2002
Author Info: Kera (Fredericksburg, VA - USA) 
Occupation: Graphic Design
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

Tuesday, Sept 11 started out on a high note. As I was ready to leave for work my dad came into the kitchen and told my brother and sister-in-law were on their way to the hospital. Apparently, She went into labor about 4 am that morning.

I was going to be an aunt for the third time. We already knew it was going to be a boy. They even settled on a name… Calvin (No he was not named after Cal Ripkin Jr.) I left for work at 7:45 am and on my way I listen to WTOP (the Washington News Station); hearing about how Michael Jordon was going to join the Wizards. All in all, the day started upbeat.

At 8:45, I arrived at work, a small but vibrant weekly newspaper where I worked as an ad composer.

As I settled down to start work someone turned up the radio. The World Trade Center has been hit by a plane. To be honest, I first thought it was just a tragic accident. But then the second one was hit. I got nervous. But what go to me was when the Pentagon was hit. OH MY GOD!! My other brother and his family lived less than a mile from the attack. I feared for their safety.

AS the tragic day unfolded, I felt a sense of numbness gripping me. Not anger. Not Fear. Numbness. As if I was trying to deny to myself that this really WAS happening. That day I was kind of working on “autopilot”, in which I still did my work, but I talked little and sort of “floated” though the day.

There were some ladies who were working as typesetters, ranging in age from around 45 to 70. They heard their stories. Pearl Harbor. D-Day. Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show. Kennedy assassination. The Resignation of Nixon. These events were not significant to me being that I am only thirty one. The only “moments” I remember were The Day Reagan was shot. The Challenger Disaster, The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Death of Kurt Cobain.

These “moments” now pale in comparison to 911. Even the oldest lady, who was a senior in high school on Pearl Harbor Day, said this one was the worst. My generation, until now has never had a “moment” in which the world was never the same.

The only thing that lifted this numbness was when I got a call from my mother at around 3pm. It’s a Boy, a healthy baby boy. My third nephew had just arrived on this planet. For a moment, I forgot the tragedy and gloated about the newest member of my family.

On a day where so many people lost loved ones, I gained one. On a day where thousands took their last breath, Calvin took his first. I call him my “Liberty Nephew”, the one ray of sunshine on a black, horrid day in history. He reminds me of the reason we are fighting this war – for freedom. I have a picture of him on my desk. To me he represents hope. Hope amidst Despair. Life amidst Death. Love amidst Hate.


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