"Oh, my darling. How can I ever describe to you the tragedy that has struck our world today."
That is the beginning of a letter I wrote 10 years ago. I was sitting in my car, crying. The towers had fallen hours before, and I was sprinting all over an All-American town in the Midwest, documenting the events of the day in my work as a journalist at a mid-sized newspaper.
There have been so many stories out in Blogland about this event. People who were near the towers, or should have been, or had loved ones there. I don't have much to contribute to that discussion. To be really honest, I can't recall much about what I did or where I was. It passed in a blur.
I remember that it was a beautiful morning. That it started much like any other day. That the newsroom grew still and silent as we gathered around the television, and then exploded into a flurry of activity once we realized that we had just witnessed an act of terrorism.
I do know I shot hundreds of photos that day and worked well into the night. I remember long, drawn faces. The look in a stranger's tear-filled eyes as they met mine. A group of firefighters standing shoulder to shoulder as they saw the devastation that their fellow firefighters faced across the miles. The sobbing pleas of family members, holding photos of their loved ones. The creased brows as volunteers began loading pallets of water, food and medical supplies.
The way mothers held their children close. The tightly-drawn line of a father's mouth.
And that is when I wrote to my son. I didn't know him then. He was a hope and a dream. One that I wasn't sure would ever be a reality. But I hoped one day I would know him. And I wanted to share with him my fear about how this terrible moment might have changed his world.
Ten years later, I still haven't re-read that letter. I buried it in a drawer somewhere. I'm not sure if it was more painful to read a letter to a child that I feared I would never know, or to read the raw emotion in my written words. The first lines have always stayed with me, for some reason though.
I think that's part of the reason that I intentionally avoided much of the 9/11 anniversary coverage. No news. No newspapers. No radio. I even avoided the Facebook feeds today.
It's hard to believe that it's actually been 10 years.
Ten years, and I still have no words to describe it.