Chapter 2, A Dark Day
Chapter 2. A Dark Day
Thomas, Age 11 was having breakfast early Tuesday morning, September eleventh Two Thousand and One, when the phone rang. His mother and father were calling the house from their cell phone. They had been attending a seminar in New York, and were doing a bit of early morning sightseeing, this particular morning they were at the Sky View level of the World Trade Center.
The first thing he noticed was how strange his Fathers voice sounded, his voice was steady but there was great sadness behind his words. In the background there was lots of noise, like lots of people yelling. His Father mentioned something about an accident, fire and smoke. His Father told him to turn on the news. Thomas jumped up and hastily grabbed the remote to turn on the TV as his father had asked. Clicking through the local channels, he found nothing, then he hit a Breaking News station. The image on the screen showed a view of the first World Trade Center tower, with smoke billowing up into the early morning sky.
”Son, your Mom and I are on the roof, but we are going to take the stairs, we will call you when we get to the ground level, but just in case....I have important papers in the living room vault, Call Mr. Cooper first and then your Aunt. Your Mom and I, we made arrangements, He will know what to do.” A short pause,
”Your Mom wants to talk to you, be brave son, I love you very much, we will see you soon g-d willing.” His mother was emotional, crying yet trying to be brave, Thomas had never heard her like this, she was terrified but trying to hide it.
“It’s a beautiful view up here...” Thomas was trembling and crying now into the phone,
”Mom, come home! Ma, don’t cry.” His father cut back in,
”We gotta go now son, someone got the door open,” He coughed hoarsely and continued,
“Talk to you later son, be brave.”
That was the last Thomas heard from his parents. He recalled how he numbly watched the events of the morning transpire. Calling his Dad’s cell phone he only got a recorded message of his Dad’s voice, telling the caller to leave a number.
He watched startled now as the buildings came down, first one and then the other. He tried desperately again to reach his Dad. By that time his Aunt Nan had gotten to the house, she lived a few miles away, and came as soon as she got his message. She grabbed Thomas and hugged him tightly saying,
”Don’t worry dear, they will be all right.”
As the day passed into night, it was apparent that his parents, like so many others, had not made it.
Mr. Cooper was called; the house would be sold. Thomas would move into his Aunts place and share a room with his younger cousin Ralph. The days that followed were dark and Thomas moved as if his body was set on automatic. He went through the motions; talked to friends, even spoke with another kid at his school that lost a sister.
The days past: an empty Christmas season bravely tried to cheer things up, but Thomas was still numb from the passing. As the Terrorist plot was revealed, a glowing hatred grew from a cold spot in his heart. The words of the President were encouraging; They spoke of ridding the world of terrorists.
It was early in January on a snowy evening that Thomas sat down at his computer and wrote a note to the White House.
Getting home from school a few days later, he found Aunt Nan was standing in the doorsteps; she was smiling, which was rare these days.
”Thomas” She said, ”I got a call from Washington, check your e-mail right away.”
Thomas gave her a quizzical look, and then bounded up the stairs. His computer seemed to take hours to get on line. There in his inbox was a response, from the White House! Aunt Nan stood behind him and read the words on the monitor, squeezing his shoulders.
The President had invited him personally to an event in Washington. There would be special service at the National Cathedral and afterwards special meetings with councilors and therapists for those who lost friends and relatives to the terrorist attack. They would next be invited later in the evening to a special dinner where they would personally meet the President.