Some of my worst memories have been in front of CNN. Waiting, watching, praying for some kind of news about family. Waiting, watching, praying for some semblance of reason to return to the world. So much waiting, watching, and praying…

It’s not that I blame the network for these horrific days. I suppose it’s like hating the dentist – nothing personal against the man himself, I’ve just got some seriously painful associations with that particular medical setting.

I remember hearing people ask each other “where were you when JFK was shot?” and thinking huh, how is someone supposed to remember something from so long ago? But that was before 9/11. That was before I understood some moments are so earth shattering they’re frozen in time and space, a crystalized memory stored forever deep in the psyche.

I will always associate 9/11 with an office cubicle. A small space with beige, nondescript dividers and a radio that gave us our first hint the country had been shaken to its core. I remember the carpet that muffled everyone’s footsteps and the way it got so quiet, except for the refrain of “this can’t be happening.” I see now what a singularly American thing that is to say – so many people around the world live with daily violence destroying their nation, but I was flabbergasted to have evil visit our mainland.

It wasn’t until after work when I parked myself in front of CNN, hoping for some answers.

I remember going in to work overtime, taking calls on the DNA hotline. Taking information so people could arrange testing. Trying in vain to answer questions when there were so few answers to be found. But mostly listening, over and over, to the collective pain of people crying out where are our loved ones?

There were never enough answers.