September 2001

It’s a time I’ll never forget.  My life and the world changed.  It was also the only time I’ve ever worn a sword in public.  Seriously, a real renaissance style blade.  It matched my pumpkin pants and hat with the feather.

It was a time of transition.  During the spring I had asked Heather to marry me and to my surprise and delight, she agreed.  We knew we wanted to have the wedding outdoors and found a local park that had a grove of redwood trees with an area that was rented out for weddings.  Next to it was a group picnic area.  After a little discussion we also decided on a renaissance theme for the ceremony.  Heather made her dress and I found a place on-line to order the pants, doublet, shirt and hat.  A friend who I played D&D with had a sword to lend.

We took our pastor to the costume shop and rented her an appropriate renaissance style dress.  It didn’t take much to talk her into it.  In fact all of our friends and family went fully into the spirit of the thing and showed up in costume.  One friend even found a heraldic trumpet group and the wedding march wasn’t the typical wedding march, but rather a full trumpet fanfare that any renaissance noble would envy.

That September 30th was a magical day under the redwoods with our band of merry makers.

Such happy memories are sadly mixed with grief.  In June of that year, my father fell ill and I had to check him into the VA hospital.  He went downhill rapidly and died in August.

I ended up in a surreal place where one day I am planning a fun wedding and the next I am planning a memorial service and hiring a boat to scatter Father’s ashes at sea.

One day I am opening a box with a velvet doublet and another I am bringing Father’s flag home.

In the mist of this extreme happiness and sadness, the unthinkable happened.  I recall checking email early on the 11th and seeing a news report I couldn’t believe.  The TV had the same news.  I emailed Heather at her work and she’d seen it too. Arriving at the office, I found most of the staff in the employee lounge watching the reports of the towers collapsing, the Pentagon, and reports of flight 93.  The execs were asking if any of our people were in New York that day and after an hour or so, we were sent home.

I was shocked that anyone could even imagine doing something like that. Actually doing it was and is beyond my comprehension.  I don’t understand violence.  Terrorism makes no sense.

Heather’s sister was scheduled to fly out from England and be part of the wedding.  Hazel was planning on coming out for a couple of weeks before the wedding to help prepare and be a part of the fun.  By the end of day, we learned that was on hold and it was now uncertain if she’d get a flight in time or at all.

Each day we checked and each day we learned more about the horrible events of 9/11.

I know we had to adjust plans and somethings changed, but I don’t recall us ever asking if we should delay the wedding.  We just hoped that before the 30th, the airlines would be allowed to fly and Hazel would be able to enter the country.

We just moved forward and adapted to the changing world.  I said goodbye to my father, mourned the loss of fellow Americans, and entered into the happiness of married life with my best friend.

When I think of this day, I am always conflicted as it was a day of great sadness, but it was shortly followed by a day of my greatest happiness.

I wonder if my pumpkin pants still fit…

Till next week,

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
This entry was posted in General and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to September 2001

  1. Sounds like maybe the timing of the wedding was just right to help you deal with the other things. I’m glad the wedding came last. Renaissance theme–you’re so fun. (And goodness, you haven’t been married that long! I was surprised is all.)


  2. Tammi Kale says:

    What a wonderful post. I felt as if I were taking each step with you as you reminisced. The saddest part of that tragic day fifteen years ago is that everything in our world seems to have spiraled downward with the towers, with racism rising in their places. But I truly believe that with each new tragedy, pockets of compassion are beginning to rise as well and if and only if we individually and whole-heartedly seek to put on God’s armor, just as you attired yourselves for the next step in your beautiful journey of the sword, we can make major differences in our circles of influence. May God bless you abundantly on this Thursday!


  3. Debra says:

    Pumpkin pants AND a sword! That was adventurous, Andrew! Congratulations on your 15th anniversary. I lost two significant family members in July and December 2001. I didn’t have anything like a wedding going on in my own life, and yet I felt completely overwhelmed. I think “surreal” doesn’t even begin to cover how shocking it must have been to be wrapped up in your personal joy and then experience your father’s sudden passing along with our country’s darkest hour.


  4. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Thanks for this look back, Andrew. It reminds me that it takes chaos and serenity to equal balance. I would like to offer an early “Happy Anniversary” (cue the trumpets) to you and Heather.


  5. Connie T says:

    I was going to work and listening to the radio. It was on the news. At work we all turned on the TV and watched the towers crash down. Someone printed up t-shirts and we all wore them for a week in support. Everyone got flags and put them on their house and burned candles outside for the victims. It was very sad. But everyone became patriotic. It makes me sad now to see football players not stand for the National Anthem. Support your country, don’t protest it.


    • On 9/12 our local paper printed a full page American flag because the stores had run out of flags to sell. Those paper flags were displayed for months.


  6. I think everyone old enough to remember can vividly describe their experiences around 9/11. Yours certainly include extremely happy and sad events. Good post 🙂


  7. Our son and his wife celebrated their 6th wedding anniversary on Sunday. When they were planning the wedding, he and our future DIL asked if it would bother us that they got married on 9/11. I told them that life goes on and if we don’t do important things, happy things on that date, then the bad guys win. And we can’t let that happen…

    Please post a picture of you in the pumpkin pants…. PLEASE!!


  8. Christy B says:

    Thank you for sharing such heartfelt words here xx


  9. dorannrule says:

    Your memories are surely poignant and indelible since they reflect “the best of times and the worst of times” – a happy wedding and the most horrible challenge to our country – and the joy of family and friends gathering to wish you joy and the sad loss of your father. Thank you for sharing.


  10. Baydreamer says:

    Thanks for sharing your memories, Andrew, very poignant. Memories of sadness and of joy, and the message that life goes on. That tragic event is still incomprehensible to this day, and I continue to pray for those who lost their lives, for those who lost loved ones, for all professionals on the scene who gave of their time and hearts, and for those whose memories are still so raw that it’s hard to move forward.


  11. That’s what we do as Americans. Brits don’t own the stiff upper lip.


    • Yes, we do it. I’ve always thought the best way is to just keep going on the best we can. Of course adding trumpet fanfare and fancy costumes is nice.


  12. jfwknifton says:

    At the time , an Austrian artist was roundly criticised when he described 9/11 as a “perfect work of art by Satan” but I agreed with him at the time and I still do. It would be difficult to imagine any more evil deed, although Isis are giving it a good go.


  13. mukhamani says:

    Thank you for sharing, Life goes on and we face whatever comes our way according to our inherent nature. Yes, September 11th was a black day indeed. Regards.


  14. PiedType says:

    What a delightful, original, memorable wedding you had. I’m so sorry it was touched by sadness and tragedy. But still, you have something beautiful from that September.


  15. davidprosser says:

    I’m glad you had some happiness to offset the sadness of this day. I’ve never been able to understand how purposeful the terrorists were in taking innocent lives to further their aims. In the time of your costume great battles would be fought that resulted in less dead than 9/11.
    We really have to find a way to co-exist with our fellow man and show tolerance for our differences. It’s time to concentrate on making sure there is a peaceful word for generations to come.


    • When the US invaded Iraq, a friend of mine said, “I am sure we’ll win the war, but I don’t know if we can win the peace.” Peace sometimes is hard to achieve.


Comments are closed.