My wife and I and our 11 month old daughter took a week off to go to Cable, Wisconsin. A week away from telephones, cable tv and all but a couple of radio stations. This area is really in the middle of nowhere.
We rented a cabin that we have stayed at before on a lake in a beautiful national forest about two hours southeast of Duluth, Minnesota.
We had been there two days on Sept. 11th. As we watched the CBS This Morning Program (because it came in better than the Today Show) we were eating breakfast when we saw the news flash about the first plane that hit. I thought to myself and said to my wife “How in the Hell can somebody be that far off course to crash into the World Trade Center” Then just a few minutes later we had our answer.
When the second plane hit I immediately knew what had happened. The disbelief on both our faces was evident. Needless to say our vacation went from enjoying the great outdoors and relaxing to watching tv and listening to whatever radio we could pickup. For the next two days all we did was watch and listen to the news. By the end of day two we went the seven miles into town to pick up a newspaper and to have some contact with other human beings.
It’s hard to describe how we felt, there in the middle of nowhere. Helpless and stunned are the two best words to describe it. My wife and I held our daughter and cried on more than one occasion and we also went into town to attend mass later in the week.
By the end of the week we were able to spend some time on the lake, or near the firepit at night but almost all of our thoughts were about New York City and the horrific events that unfolded before our eyes.
By the end of the week the solitude of the remote location helped us to start to cope with the tragedy. I found myself often thinking how lucky I am to live in this country and how lucky I am to have my wife and my daughter.
The personal stories that began to unfold in the never ending news coverage of that week were so hard to watch yet we could not pull ourselves away from them for too long at any one time.
Yet in a weird sort of way I was drawn to the coverage. I have a degree in Journalism and have been both writer and photographer. Not only did I see the tragedy unfold before my eyes that whole week but I found myself looking at the situation as a journalist. I was amazed by and proud of the news coverage. Yet the personal terror and sorrow were never far away.
By the time we left for home we knew life would never be the same, yet the stillness and solitude of the cabin, allowed us to absorb the events without being totally overwhelmed by them.
But no matter how many times we may go back to the cabin, it will always have a sadness to it. A sadness that will never let me forget 9-11.