Friday, September 08, 2006

The important words

Peggy Noonan wrote an essay on the sounds of 9/11 -- the roar, the crashing, the sirens, yet more the words that the people in peril chose to speak. They didn't call the press to make a statement; they didn't call people to finish an argument. They called the people they loved:

I don't know if we'll make it out. I want to tell you that I love you and I love the kids.

Hopefully I'll talk to you again, but if not, have a good life. I know I'll see you again some day.

Tell mommy I love her. No matter what happens, I love her.

We're all going to die, but three of us are going to do something. I love you, honey.

Ms Noonan says it well:
This is what I get from the last messages. People are often stronger than they know, bigger, more gallant than they'd guess. And this: We're all lucky to be here today and able to say what deserves saying, and if you say it a lot, it won't make it common and so unheard, but known and absorbed.


Therese Z said...

I assume that I would have the impulse to call people I love and say "I'm sorry" for whatever was washing over my memory in waves of regret.

Better, I guess, to simply proclaim my love.

The Dover Beachcomber said...

It almost always takes the visibly imminent risk of death to shake us loose this way. Yet if we were really paying attention, and remembered how not even the next breath is guaranteed us, we would say those important things much more often. As the medievals knew, media vita in morte sumus -- in the midst of life, we are in death.



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