Remembering September 11th: a day of contrasts
by Miguel M. Morales
Juliet Kincaid began her 60th birthday last year in a bad mood.
"I hadn't accomplished all the goals that I wanted to in life," said Kincaid, professor, English.
Kincaid took comfort in her Tuesday teaching schedule. Keeping busy would suppress her grumpy mood, she said.
Kincaid and her daughter heard the news report over the radio while driving to the college.
"It all happened so fast. Just as soon as we heard about the first plane, the second plane hit," she said. "Then the towers collapsed. I will never have a worse birthday than that one."
Concerns over her own life goals vanished immediately, she said.
"I was affected by depression, so were my students," said Kincaid. "They were distracted into the spring semester."
Even her everyday tasks took on new meaning. Kincaid said repeatedly hearing Sept. 11 in the media and in conversations became difficult and inescapable.
"When I would go to the bank and the teller would see my ID, they would recoil at the sight," she said.
Kincaid didn’t celebrate her birthday this year. She doesn't know if she ever will again.
"It's not my day anymore," she said. "That day belongs to the country."
Betty Bullock shares the same birthday, though she has different feelings about the day and its importance in her life.
The plan was for six friends to join Bullock, assistant professor, Sociology for dinner.
"After the day's events, I e-mailed everyone that I still intended to go out to eat," said Bullock. "If they needed to stay with their families, I understood and we would celebrate another time."
Bullock’s birthday celebration was to be at her favorite restaurant followed by cake and ice cream at home.
"Without exception, they all replied they would meet me there," said Bullock.
The group expressed their concerns over the day’s events.
"We also laughed a lot because we needed that release," she said. "We toasted friendship and life and honored the souls of those who had made their transition. We shared our food and our fear, but most of all we shared our friendship."
The group talked into the early morning, enjoying cake and ice cream.
"Whenever anyone asks when my birthday is, I reply 'You will never forget my birthday, ever,'" she said. "Then with slow recognition, they ask hesitantly, '9/11?'"
Bullock celebrated her 54th birthday by again inviting friends for dinner.
"I honor that particular day, as I do everyday, by filling it with love."
Originally published in The Campus Ledger, Sept. 12, 2002