It isn’t often Red and I stray from our daily dose of sports, attempted humor or pop culture references. We avoid religion and politics, choosing to remain the class clowns. The one exception since we started has been September 11th. Each year, we post a picture and a simple title, and we let the good and faithful readers comment. Inevitably, it is a combination of heart-wrenching and chilling stories about where people were the day that changed our generation.
I always read, but never comment myself. My story is the same as a million others. On my way to work, heard about the first plane hitting the tower and assumed it was some knucklehead in a Cessna after too many Mimosas. Then heard about the second plane, and knew it was going to be bad. I made phone calls to immediate family and watched mesmerized as one of the most recognizable symbols in our great country crumbled to the ground.
The one part of my story that is different is actually my daughter’s story. She was 11 at the time, and on a middle school environmental trip in New Hampshire. The chaperones called all the parents as soon as they heard the news and were able to make a plan. Their decision, and I praise the brilliance of it still, was to remain on the trip and tell the children nothing. There were no TV’s or radios in the cabins, and the kids weren’t allowed to have cell phones. Any parent that wanted to was welcome to come get their child, but the rest of the group would remain.
My daughter later told me that the kids knew something horrible had taken place, as the entire bus ride home they saw nothing but flags at half mast and bumper stickers of flags. We told her as soon as she arrived that Friday, and she became like the rest of us: forever changed by the knowledge that maybe we aren’t safe and even the majestic New York skyline isn’t forever. She is one of 188 students who got to enjoy three extra days before having their innocence ripped away from them permanently. I am forever grateful she has those three days.
Yesterday, we were hurled back in time, even if just for a few moments, to relive the fear and confusion of 9/11. The similarities were inescapable. A plane. A skyscraper. New York City. Even the date: 10/11. Thankfully, this time it was nothing more than a tragic accident. An inexperienced pilot and a mechanical failure on the plane. But for a few moments, it was so much more than that.
The story quickly took a turn towards the bizarre, as it was learned the pilot was Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle. Just days ago he was on the mound in the ALDS, now he is no longer with us. I’m embarrassed to admit that the sick and twisted obsessive Red Sox fan in me immediately came up with several ghastly jokes. Perhaps the rivalry and the things we read in the news everyday have hardened us, making us forget that under the pinstripes he was a husband and a dad. Truly, my thoughts and prayers go out to Cory Lidle’s family and friends.
Tomorrow, we’ll meet back here and poke fun at the Yankees and talk about next year’s rotation or which desperate housewife is hotter. That’s what we do. We try to have some fun and provide a distraction from the thing we call real life. Hopefully, people that stop by get a chuckle, as I do every day when I read the comments. Today, I don’t expect to laugh at the comments. The thing that makes me proud of this site is the visitors. Knowledgeable, witty, outrageous and sometimes obnoxious, but at the end of the day, just good people. People who I know will treat this tragedy with the respect it deserves.
Let’s take a day off from being Red Sox fans, and remember two things: 1) Cory Lidle is gone – it could just as easily have been David Ortiz or Jason Varitek or Tim Wakefield or my brother or your dad or uncle, and 2) five years and one month ago changed all of us, never forget.