Dawn arrived on that late summer’s day. The shade covering my east bedroom window was suddenly edged in light. A sunbeam danced across my brow as I slept. I squinted and sniffed and squirmed to escape the inevitable. Could morning have come so quickly, I thought trying to pry open unyielding eyes?
As if on que, the familiar strains of my favourite Cat Stevens song, “Morning Has Broken,” broke the sublime silence of my slumber. Sleepily, I yawned and stretched and dragged myself out of my warm, comfortable bed and planted bare feet on the bare floor. I noticed my little dogs yawning and stretching as they sniffed their opposition, unprepared to have been awoken two hours earlier than usual.
Donning my ‘dog walking’ clothes, all at once the realization of my day’s responsibilities turned my bleary eyes bright. Remembering that I had an important proposal to present to my managers that morning, and needing to rehearse my speech was all the impetus I required to get into gear.
“Come on dogs. Let’s go for a walk,” I encouraged. My dogs and I scurried down the stairs, our respective shoes and collars on. Out the door, the morning was warm and glowing. Blue cloudless skies were overhead. Beneath our feet and paws was fading green grass. A subtle crispness filled the air, denoting summer’s waning sway. I had a good feeling about this bright sunshiny day filled with possibility. Optimistic and content, after our hour-long walk we returned home, the dogs to their repose and I to my room.
Wearing my best suit and heels, hair neatly coifed and lipstick tastefully applied, I locked the door behind me, hopped in my car and drove off, somewhat apprehensive for what lay ahead, but happy under blue skies. Happiness is a vapour, however, given the events that were yet to unfold that morning, changing a nation forever. Unbeknown to any of us at that early hour, it was as if the promise on that lovely, calm and cloudless day was innocent of the ill winds of terror that would blow on that fateful September morn.
Arriving at work well before my co-workers, I rehearsed my speech once more over a hot cup of coffee. My presentation was well received and I felt satisfied, my apprehension allayed. Again, I affirmed that this was, indeed, going to be the best day ever.
Later that morning, a meeting was called. All staff was to go home immediately. The mood changed from light to dark. We understood the reason for this abrupt decision. Everyone filed out of our building silently, some softly crying, as they made their way to their respective destinations. The irony, on this beautifully clear day, juxtaposed to the dark and gloomy terror that had rained down upon us that morning, could not be denied.
Relieved to be home, I was in a fog of utter disbelief. Quickly I turned the TV on. The evidence was real and unimaginable. Sirens wailed. Blue skies darkened blocking out the sun. Devastated people ran to escape the sheer dread of what could only be described as a war zone. Against the backdrop of a billowing cloud of black smoke and a blizzard of smothering chalk-white ash where, mere moments before, stood the iconic towers of the World Trade Centre, was a shattered, disheveled soot and ash-covered, sobbing young man on a grey Manhattan street corner. Summoning his courage while choking back tears, he bravely sang the National Anthem. Apparent was the fact that he simply wanted to do something; he did the only thing he knew to do, the only thing he could do in that horrific, terrifying moment. The poignant image of that brave boy, seemingly all alone in New York that day, has been indelibly etched on my memory.
The whole world knows that day. It was Tuesday morning; mourning had surely broken.
Myra Sieben (nee) Archibald
Former Stettler resident