5 years post college…
5 years post college…
Yesterday I attended the Empowerment Week/ 50th Anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing when 4 little girls were killed September 15th 1963 at 10:22am in Birmingham Alabama. I had the opportunity to attend the morning church service, visit the Civil Rights Institute
and view the new memorial in remembrance of the girls. After taking in the service, viewing the memorial, and walking through the museum. I began to tear up reading the statements of Denise McNair’s, the who was the tender age of 11 and the youngest of the girls, family statements in the newspaper clippings displayed in the museum. We weren’t allowed to take pictures but I did get the chance to see a little blue green dress that belonged to Denise.
My heart was heavy as I also thought about Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley who were all killed at 14, the same age of my little sisters.
I can’t imagine the pain these families went through losing their little girls. My heart goes out to them and I will not forget their story.
In addition, I had the honor of meeting two women who were from the community and grew up playing in the neighborhood of the church.
The Moore sisters were around the same ages of the girls and shared with me their feelings and emotions during that time when Birmingham had been given the title of Bombingham. They shared how the kids all played with one another and how close knit the people were. They remembered Chris Mcnair (Denise’s father) was their family photographer. They also shared how the Black community was more like a village; everyone looking after one another. All I can say was the experience for me was a life changing moment. I am so grateful to these women and the families affect by this tragedy for sharing stories.
Until next time…
I remember I was on my way to school hurriedly looking for a parking spot because I was running late for my 8am English class and couldn’t afford another tarty. My professor chided us earlier in the semester; too many tarties would result in a lower overall final grade. It was only three weeks in yet I had one life line left and three pieces of lint flavored m&ms in my right jacket pocket.
In other words I couldn’t afford another tarty.When the music stopped playing on the radio station I was listening to I turned it off assuming all the disc jockeys on every station was just being long winded. I continued on my mad dash to class clueless to the full scale as to what happened in NYC., D.C. and even more nearby in Shanksville PA …my hometown is Pittsburgh.
By the time I got into the building and to my class I remember there being an eerie silence permeating the halls and these sorrowful looks upon my classmates faces. In my cluelessness I asked everyone what was going on because up until that point I was so self-absorbed I missed what happened.When my professor caught me up all I could think about was calling and checking on my family.My teacher had let us go home shortly after that and I remember driving back home with a feeling of being unsafe. It was my first time as a young adult feeling uncertain of my future and having a strong urgency to seeing and embrace the family I was usually trying to run from, (Because I thought I was grown and they got on my nerves, blah, blah).
Of course everyone was changed on that day. I would from that point on start to appreciate my family and say I love you. I also fell in love with the movie Legally Blonde as I watched it many times. And though I didn’t have family in New York or directly affected by the attacks, my heart went out and still does for the families that loss loved ones on this day. I will never forget the victims, the bravery of the service men & women, and first responders of this day. We can honor their memory by treating each other with kindness and respect as we are one nation united under God. Americans. Family.
Until next time…