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Thursday, September 12, 2002

One Ordinary Day

September 11, 2001

Awoke to the usual worries
Of bills and work and kids and all,
Getting ready to face these mundane challenges,
Who would think this would be anything
Except one ordinary day?

Outside I couldn't help but notice
The beauty of the morning—
The sky, the light, the air, all seemed
Caught in time, late-summer's last gift,
As I drove to work, one ordinary day.

The news arrived by computer, first thing,
A little notice, popping up to tell
The latest—yet read twice, in disbelief,
Not stock quotes or policies, but terror;
Chaos on my desktop, one ordinary day.

Gathered around the television, we
Watched and worried; denying, maybe
Our eyes: How could two towers,
Reaching high, filled with—us?—so
Suddenly disappear, this ordinary day?

And more news, and more, reports coming, faster,
New York, to Washington, and Pennsylvania—
Another crash, more fire, one, two, three, four,
How could this be? What terror, this?
How could summer skies turn so quickly, this ordinary day?

How long can a day last? As we
Watched and ached, no way to help,
No way to understand, small comfort found,
Just rubble and sorrow, fear … and courage—
Would we ever go home, on this ordinary day?

Do you know? That when a bird flies
Into a window's glass, someone's has died, so they say;
Too true, today—birds flew, and the glass gave,
And too, too many died.
We cry for those lost, this ordinary day.

They went to work, too, as did we,
New York's finest, ready to serve at
The crisis of the day, always something in the city:
Indeed—this call, quick response, and never looking back,
They climbed straight to heaven, on this ordinary day.

The afternoon waned amid fragile control,
And we who had watched at work went home,
And how good that sounded, how strong
The embraces we gave at homecoming,
How easy to love, on an ordinary day.

Reaching out for each other,
A last cell-phone call, a final e-mail,
A president's speech, a brave mayor's tears,
A flag flown half-staff, a candle held high,
Remembering and hoping, for an ordinary day.

Night, then, without end, smoke and grief fill the air:
We are changed—yet still, a foundation remains.
Honor. Kindness. Courage. And love.
Of country, of city, of neighbor, we find
The best parts of ourselves intact, thank God!

On this extraordinary day.

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