‘Everything Is Everything . . .’

I remember, as does nearly everyone, I guess, what a beautiful morning it was – in Minnesota, it was mildly cool with a sky as clear and blue as I’ve ever seen – nineteen years ago today. I was driving the Texas Gal to work in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie from our home in the suburb of Plymouth, normally about a forty-minute drive. About five minutes into that drive, we began hearing news reports from New York City, the first one indicating that a plane had accidentally flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

The accidental part wasn’t true, of course, and we learned that sixteen minutes later, as we heard reporters’ shock at seeing a second plane hit the South Tower. Both of us shaken, I dropped her off at her office and headed back home, hearing on the way about the attack on the Pentagon. As I neared home, I heard reporters tell me about the collapse of the South Tower.

And less than half an hour later, amid early reports of a fourth plane having crashed in rural Pennsylvania, I watched on television as the North Tower came down. What stands out to me, after nineteen years of pondering the events of September 11, 2001, is the horrifying speed at which things happened. From the time the first plane hit the North Tower to the time that tower joined its twin in collapsing, only an hour and forty-two minutes elapsed.*

And those one-hundred-and two minutes changed us and continue to do so, socially, geopolitically, and – for thousands – in intimately personal ways.

That’s all I’m going to say about that day nineteen years ago. We all know what happened and where we were. Instead, I’m going to think about the response that came from Bruce Springsteen. The story goes that a day or two after the attacks, Springsteen was in Rumson, New Jersey, when an unidentified driver yelled at him, “Bruce, we need you now.” The following July, Springsteen released the album The Rising, a meditation on loss, courage, faith, and grief and on finding one’s way through to acceptance and eventual peace and even more eventual joy.

I listen to The Rising occasionally, and of course, its tracks pop up on random sometimes. The track that affects me the most is “You’re Missing,” with its details of ordinary life left with a gaping hole. Here it is:

*That elapsed time is based on the timeline published this week at the website of Newsweek.

Tags:

Leave a Reply