9/11 Remembered: On Martha’s Vineyard

9/11 Remembered: On Martha’s Vineyard

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(On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Tales Told From The Road ran stories from its readers and other sources about their experiences traveling in the days surrounding 9/11. Over the coming days we will re-run many of those stories to commemorate a day in the history of the United States and the world that will long be remembered.)

“9/11 Remembered: On Martha’s Vineyard” By David M. Frey

When I remember the events of 9/11, I first remember the evening of 9/10. I had traveled to Martha’s Vineyard with my then wife and her family. Off-season had settled and the island had a sense of letting out a sigh and settling in for autumn. We went to a concert of sea shanties.

One of the musicians “daylighted” as a photographer and described his favorite time of day to take pictures.

It wasn’t sunset, he said. It was just after, when the water is glassy and reflects the colors of the sun-streaked sky as if it were glowing from within. It was that moment as he spoke, and looking out to the harbor, I understood why he loved this moment so much.

The next day, we watched the horrific news unfold on the TV in our bed-and-breakfast. It was suddenly awkward to be vacationing amidst tragedy.

Shopkeepers and restaurant owners couldn’t decide if they should close or not. There was no etiquette for dealing with this kind of tragedy.

Amid the chaos that followed, the ferry to the Vineyard shut down.

Boston’s Logan Airport, the departure point of one of the hijacked planes, became a crime scene. Even after flights resumed elsewhere, Logan was locked down.

We were stuck for days, unable to find plane, train or automobile home from Massachusetts, merely inconvenienced while we watched so many suffer so much more.

But what I remember most came before that: an evening of tranquil waters bathing in the last light of day.

David M. Frey is a freelance writer based near Washington, D.C., where he writes about the environment, food, travel, culture and politics for a variety of publications.

His work as a reporter, editor, photographer and columnist has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, High Country News, and NewWest.Net.

His 9/11 story was originally published by Tales Told From The Road on September 23, 2011.


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