In September 2001 Gary and I had owned the inn for slightly over 2 years but, like the rest of the nation, watched in disbelief as the world all of us knew went down in flames just like the World Trade Center in Manhattan. September 11, 2001 Remembered.
We were cooking for our guests when our land line rang. On the other end of the phone was my daughter. You Mothers will identify when I say the moment I heard her voice I knew something was very wrong. She asked where I was. I told her we were cooking breakfast and she immediately asked if our first floor room was booked knowing we did not have a television in the kitchen. Then, in a trembling voice, pre-empting my question as to what was wrong, she said, "Mom, I think you and Daddy better go to a television set."
The t.v. was on only moments as we watched, she in Kentucky and I here in Asheville when a second plane approached and then hit tower 2 of the World Trade Center.
In my life, I have lived through several of those moments of unreality. President John F. Kennedy's assassination, Martin Luther King's shooting and subsequent death and finally, Bobby Kennedy at only 42 gunned down and each time there is a sense of complete unreality.
It was very clear even as it was happening that America was under attack and all the implications of that had yet to be understood.
As fate would have it in bed and breakfast land, a couple staying with us called Israel their home. They immediately called it terrorism and began to share how this type of activity affected their daily lives in a way making them much more acutely in tuned to the job of living. She shared how when she and her husband had a snit or disagreement... perhaps if they lived in a country where going to an open air market always meant they were coming back home that day-- they might be less inclined to immediately make up. She shared how they NEVER left the house completely sure that a terrorist would not bomb the cafe they were having lunch in and so they said the words, "I love you." They said them often always in awareness that the opportunity for later might never come. They held each other in embrace before parting as their normal, everyday existence could render the opportunity to "do that later" an opportunity missed. She said this behavior extended to her children and all her friends and family. Wisely and with genuine sadness she also acknowledged that this could be a challenging and difficult period for America but did not hesitate to recognize the opportunity for growth from this horrible occurrence- both personal and as a county.
Horrendous as this day was, the lives lost, the families shattered and destroyed, the children who will grow up always missing their dads, the wives who will cry for the love of their life never coming home again- there were countless acts of bravery and self sacrifice. There were many who rose high above their fear to help others using their last breath trying to save a friend, loved one or co-worker. The United States of America lost its innocence that day but in the new day that dawned New Yorkers and much of the world moved forward in complete solidarity against a force that would kill innocents.
We face different challenges now but that same solidarity that walked this country through the darkest days most of us have ever known in our nation must be called upon now as we face another kind of peril. We must call upon each other to work together, Democrat and Republican alike to find the best each of us have to offer government because nothing short of that will prove successful. Our failure to do this could prove our true undoing.
Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers