Skip to main content

I first wrote this in 2007 for my own blog.  I decided that it was worth a repeat if that's OK with you guys.

Those who know me know that I’m not a morning person. Getting up early is something I’ve avoided most of my life, dating back to when had to get up at 5AM to deliver the Chicago Tribune. I’m not proud of the fact that I have a reputation for avoiding early meetings and rolling into the office sometime a little after 9:30. So it was not unusual that on September 11th six years ago, I didn’t get out of bed until after Tom was gone and his clock radio had already turned itself off.

That particular morning, I ambled into the kitchen in search of coffee and then went to fetch the paper from the front porch. It was a beautiful day in Chicago, and I wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere. For whatever reason, I didn’t turn on the radio in the den as I read the paper. It wasn’t until around 8:30 when I returned to the kitchen for a refill that I first became aware something was not right.

Tom had left the kitchen radio tuned to the classical station. They didn’t really do news, just weather and a little bit of headlines. So it stopped me when the announcer, one of those dignified and measured voices, told his listeners that, "a plane... no, two planes have crashed into the World Trade Center in New York." I remember the wording so clearly. While still retaining that classical music guy voice, that there was something very wrong was unmistakable.

I got my coffee and went back to the den to turn on CNN. The images, as we all know, were both horrifying and riveting. I was dumbfounded. Instead of sitting in one of the comfy club chairs across the small room, I dragged the ottoman right up to the TV. Maybe I thought if I sat closer to the screen I would understand better what the hell was happening. The images went back and forth from a live shot to the loop of the second aircraft’s impact. Memory of what the anchors were saying, as well as what I was muttering, is a little murky now. But what I remember so well was how I was not alone. A trusted and loyal friend sensed I was upset, that something was wrong and I needed support. So at some point, as I sat hunched in front to the television, Shadow came up and sat by my side.

Shadow was the older of our two Newfoundland dogs, our "dog in charge," as I called her. She was an imposing figure, a presence that could not be ignored. But in this circumstance, she sat silently by my side. That’s what Newfoundlands do. The breed is known for this strong, silent self-assuredness. Their way of moderating a situation is to quietly but firmly insert themselves into the middle of what is going on.

For an unknown number of minutes, I sat there with my arm around her, rocking back and forth. "Oh, Shadow. This is bad. This is really bad. Oh, man, Shadow." Eventually, she got up and stood in the narrow space between the television and me. I’m not sure, but I think she was telling me we had seen enough.

We all can say where we were and what we were doing as the events of September 11, 2001 unfolded. I went on to prepare for work, check in with Tom, and try to reach a good friend whose partner worked in lower Manhattan. Seemingly oblivious to the possibility of a much wider threat, I drove to work only to be waved off by building security. I went to our friend’s place to sit with Evan while he tried to make contact with John, who was finally able to get a text message out that he was OK and heading uptown to stay with friends. Other friends came by and we walked through the Lincoln Park neighborhood to look for a place to eat. Store after store, even Starbucks, were closed. The one open restaurant was overwhelmed. Fighter jets flew overhead.

The world had, indeed, changed.

As time slips by, and the powerful mix of emotions is given perspective, the memories of that day remain strong. Shadow’s gone now; she died in February. But today as we all reflect in our own way about the horrors of 9/11, the memory that brings me the most comfort is of that intuitive action of a loyal and unconditionally loving friend. Is this odd: That among all the jagged and abrasive images and feelings I have of that day, the one that comes up first is the comfort provided by a dog?

I don’t think so.

Originally posted to Kerfuffle on Fri Sep 11, 2009 at 12:25 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site