I woke up this morning, the Tenth Anniverary of 9/11, at my parents' house. It was quiet because they live in the country. I laid there and listened to the silence...thinking. Thinking.
Mass was outdoors this morning and what a lovely day for it! Chilly at first, but the sky was blue and the sun rose with a purpose. Mass began with a nice tribute to 9/11 and a flag ceremony by the Boy Scouts. I took note that they correctly set Old Glory to half-staff.
The kids were a bit jittery but I was in my own world. Years of Catholic school education still leave me with the ability to waltz through a Mass with no problem...all the prayers and the calisthenics that come with it. Although this isn't probably looked fondly upon, it did give me the ability to reflect while still participating.
As the Mass moved on, I felt the warm sun on my back. I noticed the blue sky. No clouds to be seen. It reminded be distinctly of a day, ten years earlier, that looked very much the same. That Tuesday morning in 2001 was a cloudless, azure beauty, just like this morning. The trees were fully adorned in their summer best, a few beginning to resign themselves to Autumn's golden whispers. Birds still flew and a light breeze tickled the congregation.
Quietly, I noticed a glint of light. I looked up. A contrail. A closer look would reveal the outline of a jetliner skimming the blue above. This, you see, is nothing out of the ordinary here. We live directly under the flight path of Kansas City International to Denver International. We see tiny planes and their self-made clouds on a daily basis here.
This morning was different. As Psalms were read in the background, I imagined this jet. The cockpit...the flight crew...the passengers. I wondered how many of them were scared to fly today? How many of them almost didn't board that flight? I wondered how many of those airline employees lost a co-worker or a friend ten-years ago today? I wondered if "flying the friendly skies" will ever be "friendly" again, especially on September 11?
I leaned to the left and whispered to my brother, Rich..."Those have to be some brave souls to board a jetplane on September 11." He looked up, nodding reverently, and went back to Mass-as-usual. I watched the plane until it flew out of my peripheral view. I wonder what those itty-bitty souls in that itty-bitty jetplane would have thought if they'd known what this girl on the ground was thinking? That I was sitting at Mass, praying for them, in the presence of the American Flag at half-staff? I wonder if they knew God was with them?