The fourth 11th

This year, for the first time, I will not be at the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th. And that will be hard.

This Sunday is also the first of the fall season in church. The kids come back to Sunday school. The choir starts. The family goes together. I know that’s where I belong.

But it hurts not to be at the World Trade Center then. Many, including my family, don’t understand why going there that morning matters to me. Worse, it reminds them that I came too close to leaving them that morning just because I thought I had some obligation to the news when, instead, I had an obligation to get out of harm’s way and return to them. I’m reminded of this choice again right now because of Katrina and all the people who made their choices in New Orleans.

In the last three years, I simply went to the site and listened as the names were read and retraced my steps that morning. I walk the steps between death and me and safety. I give thanks. I remember the heroes and innocents of the day.

I am sorry I won’t be there on the 11th. But I will remember.