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Field Notebook

November 15, 2010
After September 11th

Artwork: Thornton Dial
Artwork: Thornton Dial
Working in a small-town cafe this morning, I was writing out of an old journal. Thumbing through it, I found a page written after September 11th:

"The first flight I could get out of New York, the airport had an almost deserted feel. A line of only a few people stepped onto the plane. The greeting flight attendant was a woman in her 40s, short, well-kept hair. Her smile was full of sympathy and hopefulness. Victims greeting victims. The people leaving the bombed city, and the flight attendant who feared for her life. The woman wore, pinned to her shirt, a small American flag that she had torn in two places; long, purposeful gashes that left naked threads. A sign of mourning.

The man getting on ahead of me also wore a flag pinned to his shirt. His was not torn. He paused, looking at her torn flag, her face, the flag again. He seemed shocked.

It was happening. We were dividing."

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