that was the year I bought a purple dress
on clearance at the outlet store
and Karen put baby’s breath in my hair
and my husband and I went to spring banquet.
it was the year we celebrated our first anniversary
with sunburns and a leaky tent
and a camping trip that will live in infamy.
that was the year.
it was the year Art’s grandma died
and we drove to Saint Louis with Karen and Joel
for her funeral. I still have the picture somewhere
of all of us dressed up before the service,
not sure if we should smile or be serious.
that was the year I took my oral exams at Faith.
I don’t like to talk about them. It wasn’t fair.
That was the year my sister got married,
just a few days before Christmas,
and I had the best hair of my life for her wedding.
She was the most beautiful bride.
That was the year I walked home from class
and heard the words “airplane” and “World Trade Center”
and came home in time to see the second tower hit.
It was the year I rocked babies in the nursery at work
and we listened to the radio in horror as planes crashed,
buildings fell, and heroes were made.
That was the year the line at the gas station went down the block,
the year I sat alone in our apartment and ate orange sherbet,
scared, so scared, while Art was at work.
That was the year I walked every morning and counted flags
in windows and hanging from porches,
the year that I wondered if my husband would be drafted
and sent to war, the year that the skies were so silent.
Ten years ago. And so much has changed. And now, I try
to teach my children what it meant– what it was like. For them,
that year is history. For me– memory.
That was the year we came together and sang “God bless America,”
the year the worst that they could give us helped us find our best,
the year that made me realize how very proud I am to be American.
That is the year I don’t want to forget.
©2011 by Erin Kilmer