"The Show Must Go On"
"Never forget," they say. How could I?
I was 18 years old, a freshman in college. I had just dropped my mom off for work that morning and heard on the "Bob and Tom" radio show that a plane had just flown into the first tower of the World Trade Center. A usually funny and airy show turned hauntingly somber and serious as they tried to figure out if the crash was an attack or an accident.
I got home and walked in through the front door just in time to sit down to my dad's television playing Fox News broadcasting live the second plane crashing. My gut was left in tangles.
I went to classes that day, not sure if I was supposed to be there or not. I don't think anyone knew what we were supposed to be doing. I worried about people I knew in the military and whether we were going to war. I had no real idea what to feel as an ignorant young girl who was just trying to start her own life.
That night was a big show for the freshmen in the theatre department, "New Faces!"
I remember our department director, Dr. Wan, telling us, "The show must go on!" He reminded us that we could not give into terrorist, because that would be letting them "win."
So that night, I stood in front of a crowd of other confused and befuddled college students who so politely cheered me on as I did a HORRIBLE monologue about socks and organization. And then, I watched as "the show" of my life, and the lives of everyone around me, would continue to go on, and on, and on, never really stopping for anyone or anything.
Sometimes, in the midst of terrible tragedies, I wonder how the world doesn't stop turning. I remember sitting in the bathtub the day after Elijah died crying, still fresh in my gutted grief. Looking at my phone, I saw a flood of posts with the words, "never forget," and for the first time I think I felt the loss of 911. It was 14 years later, but now I had felt what it was truly like knowing your loved one was gone in the blink of an eye. And maybe that is selfish and it took a really long time for those pieces to connect, but man--when they did-- I saw the world spinning like it had never spun before.
You never know when it will be the last time you see someone smile. You never know when evil or hate will have its way. You never know when death will rear its seemingly ugly head. You never know what tomorrow will bring, but in the mean time this show is all we have, so show up for it. Be the star you were meant to play. Speak your lines with love and power, and make those connections with your cast and crew. Remember there are no small parts, only small actors. (Okay, I think I am running out of theatre metaphors lol).
To the brave women and men who experienced 911, I send you love. To those who lost a family member or loved one in those hateful attacks, I can't send you enough love. To the first responders with hearts of gold, I admire you and send you so much admiration and love for helping others in ways I could never imagine doing. All of you, all of us, together, America, together is how we need to stand. I love you all.
"The show must go on."
Artist. Author. Illustrator. Changing the world one act of kindness at a time.
Check out Kelly's AMAZING children's books at: www.kellyairhart.com