Monday, September 12, 2011

I Remember 9/12/2001 - Empty Skies

New Jersey's brilliant Empty Skies Memorial to 9/11

I live under the flight path of planes landing at Midway Airport. Planes approaching Chicago's municipal airport from the south east angle their way over my raised ranch on Rockwell. I believe that my home is a transportation hub. Twenty feet from my front window CSW coal cars and freight rumble and shake the foundation, but lull me and the kids to a gentle sleep.

The train vibrations cause seepage into the basement, but we sleep good. There is always a payoff in God's plan. Above us air traffic and in front of us America's fossil fuels and freight keep the nation vital and within the Hickey's enjoy a soul soothing white noise and vibrating beds that would cost us a lung at the better economy motels.

Ten years ago there was not a plane in the sky and it remained that way for months. The day after 9/11/2010 is what I remember to be the more frightening than the surreal and distant terrors that we only witnessed on television, or via the rumor mills on the information highway.

The sight of air traffic was a comfort, much like the rocking and rumble gratis the good folks at CSX. My kids have trouble sleeping away from home, believe it or not. Likewise, the empty skies made me nervous.

On Wednesday September 12th 2011, I needed to meet with a Leo patron in the Loop. I was used to seeing 747s fly past Sears Tower, the Hancock and the Standard Oil Buildings. That morning heading north of the Dan Ryan there was none of it. I kept the radio off.

In keeping with my transportation trope, trucks were banned. The Loop was on lock-down. Ten years ago one could find parking meters throughout the Loop, but on this day Chicago Police directed drivers to parking lots and there were no trucks.

There were no planes in the sky. I accustomed to the comforting sight of air traffic and the sight of contrails in the stratosphere. Pure blue skies. Void of traffic.

America was scared, but working. I had my meeting; returned to Leo and watched the kids board the bus for football practice at the Dan Ryan Woods.

It was going to be OK and it is.

I went out on my porch this morning as a CSX coal train rumbled by Cassa Hickey southbound and a fat Southwest Airlines plane stffed with travelers angled over my house. I went back inside and decided to write about this and then I will go to Leo High School, like I did ten years ago and later drive to the Loop. I am comforted.

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