Yahoo! is asking Americans how September 11 changed them. Below is an account from a reader.
My mouth was agape. Two of the world's most recognizable structures -- buildings I've been in, stood atop -- crumbling to the ground like castles made of sand. To me, the events unfolding were literally unbelievable.
I suppose I felt like all of those people hearing the news of Pearl Harbor, or maybe Orson Welles' "War of The Worlds." This can't be actually happening.
[Your story: How has September 11 changed you?]
When I realized my jaw had dropped as far as it could go and then some, I closed my mouth. Said nothing. Not "Oh my God," or "What the hell?" Nothing.
The world -- my world and the world of my countrymen and women -- gone. Unfathomably altered. Like the little boy in my mind who'd mustered all his gumption that summer so long ago to drill the grand slam over the center-field fence, the United States was all grown up, its childhood and innocence lost.
All that was left was the memory of a home to which we could never return. When I could finally formulate a rational thought, it was: What now?
For me, that question was answered most decidedly in April of the following year, when Dr. Skene ran the ultrasound probe across my wife's belly. Quickly, he removed the probe from her oily midsection, replaced it in its holder. He then picked up a chair that was next to him, brought it to me at the end of the table and said, "You better have a seat, Dad."
Immediately, the image I thought I'd seen on the screen became clear: Two heads. My mind raced with the possibilities, including "My baby has two heads!" Curiously, the most obvious answer, twins, never crossed my mind.
Fact is, according to a number of "experts," we should never have even been there. After a number of surgeries on my wife's reproductive system, doctors told us we'd never have children naturally. One doctor didn't say "never;" he told us our chances were "10 million to one," and that baby, my Sweet Caroline, had already beaten the odds 17 months earlier. That we were pregnant at all was already impossible.
That there could be twins was like the felling of the World Trade Center -- simply unbelievable. But there they were. As if that wasn't enough, the boys came into this world early in the morning of Sept. 12, 2002. The twin towers had been reborn!
To me, the lesson was clear: Even in the midst of tragedy and uncertainty, when the odds are against you and the future is bleak, there is still hope. There is still a miracle out there. There is life.
Soon, we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the horrendous loss of life and time that forced open so many wordless mouths that Tuesday morning. When I have done my remembering of the past, and whispered the silent prayers for those who suffered -- and still suffer -- I will reach out and wrap my arms around my 9-year-old identical twins, Lennon and Cooper, and comfort myself in the perpetual truth that there is always a future.