September the 11th is my fathers birthday. He was born in 1944. He died in 1992. I always made sure that I remembered his birthday after he died. I always made sure to tell him I loved him and that I missed him and that I wish he was here so I could give him a present or at the very least a hug.
At about 10:30pm on the evening of September the 10th 2001, I was listening to the radio when I heard about the first plane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. At the time, it was being reported as an accident. I got out of bed and switched on the T.V. When I went back to bed at about 6:00am the next morning after watching the events unfold, all I though about was the terrible loss of life. That day at work, the same as everyone else, I thought and talked about the devastation and the loss of life with my co-workers and other people I didn't know. There was blanket coverage on every network. Every newspaper was filled with the pictures and stories of lives lost. It was simply an event that I and indeed anybody else alive at the time will never forget. It was a "Where were you when you heard that Princess Diana had died?" moment.
That night I went to bed early as I was tired from the night before.
It wasn't until the next day, September the 12th, that I remembered it was my Dads birthday the day before. I cannot describe the feelings of guilt I had at that moment. I had witnessed the death of thousands of people I had never met. I grieved and said a prayer for them. But I forgot my fathers birthday. I felt as though I had betrayed him. I felt as though I had put others before him, something I promised my self I would never do.
To this day, I still carry the guilt I felt that day. I have tried to tell my self it wasn't my fault. It couldn't be helped I said to my self. I didn't help. I felt and still feel terrible about forgetting my own fathers birthday.
Dad, if you can read this, I love you. I love you so much and I miss you. Please forgive me.
I know that you wouldn't hold it against me because you are not that kind of person.
I still remember the last birthday card you ever gave me just after you got sick. I was 15. You told me that manhood was being thrust upon me. It was, but today at 30 years of age, I wish I was still a little boy sitting on your knee.
Happy Birthday Dad. I love you.
From your son, Jamie